Two Resurrections - Part 2

Scripture: Revelation 22:11-12, Revelation 20:8-9, Philippians 2:10-11
The Bible tells of a thousand years on this earth when the righteous will be in heaven and Satan will be bound to our desolate planet. There are different ideas about this millennium. What do the Scriptures teach about this 1,000 years?
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In Montreal, Quebec, a sixteen-year-old boy was sentenced to 381 years in prison after pleading guilty to a series of armed robberies and six charges of attempted murder. But this is only a third as long as another prison sentence will be which will confine the world's greatest criminal for 1,000 years, in chains. We had a glimpse of that fascinating story in our last broadcast. Satan, the master criminal of the ages, will be confined to this desolated, broken-down, uninhabited world for a millennium of time. And, by the way, that word "millennium" is just another way of saying "a thousand years."

We discovered that a resurrection will take place to introduce this thousand years, and only the good people will have part in that first resurrection. Jesus referred to it as the "resurrection of life," and it takes place at the second coming of Christ. The living wicked will be slain by the glory of that second advent of Jesus, but the living righteous will be translated and caught up to meet Jesus in the clouds, along with those righteous dead who have part in the first resurrection.

John the Revelator declared that the "rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished." Now "the rest of the dead" has to be the wicked dead, and they remain in their graves through the millennium and come forth in the second resurrection that takes place at the end of the thousand years and is referred to by Jesus as "the resurrection of damnation."

In our last broadcast we established that all the righteous people will go to heaven to spend the thousand years with Christ. The earth is emptied of all human inhabitants, and only Satan will be here in a world that will be a shambles of chaos and destruction. He is bound by a chain of circumstances so that he can deceive no one. Since the righteous are all in heaven, and the wicked are all dead, there will be no possibility for the devil to influence a single soul. And for a period of 1,000 years, there will be no human crime or sin committed on this planet. What a picture that is, friends! and how obvious and clear it is that no one can be converted or saved during this period. The righteous are already saved and the wicked are dead. They surely could not believe and repent.

Some people believe there will be a second chance. They talk about some period of a second probation when all can be saved if they choose. No, this isn't biblical at all. Let's check it now and settle it forever, friends, from the Word of God. Our probation is NOW! We will not be able to accept Christ after death or after the second coming of Christ.

Let's read one verse here that will completely settle the matter in every mind. Revelation 22:11, 12: "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; and behold I come quickly and my reward is with me to give every man according as his works shall be." Before Christ even leaves heaven to come back to this earth, a great decree will go out saying: "Let this man remain filthy, let that man remain holy." There can be no change; every case is settled. Every man's record is closed before Christ returns, and that is it. There will not be any more opportunities. This is exactly what the Scriptures teach.

Now let's think of the events at the close of the thousand years. The wicked are alive again and there is someone for Satan to deceive. The Scripture says that "Satan is loosed out of his prison." Satan looks around. He sees every wicked person who has ever been born, from Cain on down to the end, millions upon millions of them. And he thinks, "What an army I have here." He looks toward the holy city with its comparatively small number of saints and says to himself, "Now is my chance; with our superior numbers and my vast intelligence, we will win the victory in this final battle with Christ." The Scriptures say in Revelation 20:8, "(He) shall go out to deceive the nations. . .to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea."

In this vast army are multitudes of the long-lived race that existed before the flood; men of grand intellect who, yielded to the control of fallen angels, devoted all their skill and knowledge to the exaltation of themselves; men whose wonderful works of art led the world to idolize their genius, but whose cruelty and evil inventions defaced the earth and the image of God causing Him to blot them from the face of His creation. There are kings and generals who conquered nations, valiant men who never lost a battle; proved, ambitious warriors whose approach made kingdoms tremble. In death these experienced no change. As they come up from the grave, they resume the current of their thoughts just where it ceased. They are actuated by the same desire to conquer that ruled them when they fell.

Under the leadership of Satan, all prepare for war. The great military strategists of all ages map out battle plans. Military leaders, famed for their success, marshal the throngs of the lost into companies and divisions. Chemists begin working to prepare for germ and chemical warfare. Nuclear scientists, under the genius of Satan himself, begin to construct bombs with destructive power such as never have been dreamed of. Skilled scientists build missile bases deep in the earth, and rockets to propel these warheads against the holy city. With God's restraining hand loosed, such fearful weapons are developed that even their inventors speak of them in awed tones. The ultimate aim of these extensive war preparations is to attack suddenly, strike viciously and utterly destroy the holy city and the saints.

At last the order to advance is given. The spirit of rebellion, like a mighty torrent breaks forth. Satan leads them over the desolated, war ravaged earth in a last desperate attempt to take the City of God, and establish himself as king of a rebel world. God describes this in Revelation 20:9, "And they went up on the breadth of the city and compassed the camp of the saints about and the beloved city...."

Step by step, closer and closer they mount the attack, and just when it seems that the city is doomed, suddenly the advancing hordes stop dead in their tracks.

Here, the whole human race meets, for the first and last time, all of God's people inside the city; all the wicked outside. Through the transparent walls of the New Jerusalem, the redeemed can see the immense host of the lost. Those outside see the saints of God, redeemed, glorified. They see the tree of life, the river of life, and Jesus upon His throne. They see all that they have lost. And before every eye is thrown the panorama of his own life. Each sees with horrible detail every sin he has ever committed. Before every sinner is portrayed the lowly birth of Christ, his life and ministry on earth, the mysterious agony of Gethsemane and Calvary where He died to obtain for them the salvation which they rejected. Every eye is powerless to turn away.

Men and women stand in full view of the city that might have been their eternal home. Hearts think back upon their strange infatuation and cry out, "Take my money, take my sinful pleasures; take my procrastination and delay. These are what kept me from deciding for Jesus!" But it is too late to change. Their characters are fixed. A life of rebellion against God has unfitted them for the harmony of the earth made new. Its purity, peace, and praise would be torture to them. They would welcome death that they might be hidden from the face of the Savior.

The whole world stands arraigned before the bar of God on the charge of high treason against His government. But the destiny of the wicked is settled by their own choice. Their exclusion from the joys of heaven is voluntary with themselves. And now they fall to their knees acknowledging that God is just. "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow...and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord." Philippians 2:10, 11. Satan, also, viewing the result of his rebellion bows down and confesses the justice of his sentence.

This is not true repentance. Neither is it any real acceptance. Rebellion would still conquer if it could. They have played with eternity. But they do not repent of their choice. They only regret its fearful result.

No longer must God wait. Not a soul, now, will misunderstand His strange act. At a signal, the very heavens seem to be turned into a sheet of flame. "And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them." Revelation 20:9.

What is God thinking as the flames envelop the earth? What is in His mind? Is it the exulting of a Conqueror over an enemy crushed before His power? No, it is the cry of a rejected Savior, "Why will ye die?" It is the cry of a loving Father who called His children and they would not come. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem... how often would I have gathered thy children together even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!"

Said Ezekiel, "As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from His way and live... for why will ye die?" Ezekiel 33:11.

For those who have rejected His grace, those who would not hear, those who would not come when He called, there will be no place to hide. But the city of God, with every soul who has made the Savior his hiding place, will defy the flames, as the ark once defied the water, while God destroys the last trace of sin from this planet. Evil will no longer be remembered and for those who saw loved ones perish in that fire God has made a precious promise. Revelation 21:4. "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. And there will be no more sorrow." We will understand as He does.

When the fire has done its work and the wicked are utterly destroyed, God, out of the ashes of the old earth will create a new one. This is the end of the great millennial prophecy. Revelation 21:1, 4: "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away;...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."

Who will be able to stand in that day? The answer is found in Psalm 91:1, 4 "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust."

That, friend, is true protection. Your God and mine desires more than anything else that you receive it. I think of the Australian lumberman who had built a little cottage at the edge of the forest. It was only a lumberman's cabin, but it was home to him.

One day as he returned, he was shocked and stunned to find that a forest fire had swept through the section and destroyed his little home. There was only a heap of charred remains, twisted lumber, and a few pieces of metal blackened by the flames.

He made his way around to where the old chicken coop had stood. It, too was a mass of ashes and burned wire. At his feet there lay a mound of charred feathers. He idly kicked it over. And what do you suppose happened? Four fuzzy little babies scrambled out. Four little chicks lived because a mother hen was willing to settle over them and burn to death while they nestled safely beneath.

God says He will "cover thee with his feathers and under his wings shalt thou trust." Do you want to be covered when the fire falls? You can be; you can be covered in Christ. There is a place to hide, in Him.

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