By Charles Wheeling
Let’s consider the relationship between God, and “stuff” that He created, that originated with Him, out of Him, from Him, and for Him. It’s not easy to work this phenomenon out.
Jesus became “stuff.” Any spirit that does not confess that Jesus is come as “stuff” … is not of God. So if God, in the Person of His Son, came and took the form of “stuff,” then that was a step down. That step demonstrates to the thinking person that God is not unknowing of our circumstance. “The Lord knows our frame that we are but dust,” the Scripture says. He knows what we’re made of, what we’re taken out of, and, unless He intervenes, what we’re going back to: just nothingness, except dirt.
I'm in the book of Isaiah and Chapter 24:
“Behold…” (Watch, or Look, would be a modern expression) “Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty.” Empty of what? We keep reading, “…the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof. And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest….” in other words God is not going to be a respecter of persons in this day. “As with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant so with his master; as with the maid so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with a borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him.” Here it is again: “The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the Lord has spoken this word.”
I maintain that if you follow these few words in these few verses through Scripture you will see that God is going to allow the earth in this Great Day of the Lord to waste and go back to nothingness, to lifelessness.
“The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish.”
Obviously some judgment, some division, has taken place.
“The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.”
Are those things all one and the same? The Laws? The Ordinance? The Everlasting Covenant? I don’t think so. There’s some large picture being painted here.
“Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate…”
“Desolate:” that's an interesting word. It reads in the margin, “Uninhabited … Deserted … Barren … Lifeless.”
“Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.”
I wonder who the few men would be.
“The new wine mourneth, the vine languisheth, all the merry-hearted do sigh.”
This is going to happen is in the autumn of the year, in the northern hemisphere, when the grape harvest is due.
“The mirth of tabrets ceaseth.”
There’s no more music.
“The noise of them that rejoice endeth, the joy of the harp ceaseth. They shall not drink wine with a song; strong drink shall be bitter to them that drink it. The city of confusion is broken down:…”
“…Every house is shut up, that no man may come in.”
This is the reverse of Passover. You’re supposed to come in and be safe, where nobody can get in; the house is shut up.
“There's a crying for wine in the streets; all joy is darkened, the mirth of the land is gone. In the city is left desolation, and the gate is smitten with destruction. 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. They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the Lord, they shall cry aloud from the sea.”
I believe verse 14 is a description of the resurrection of the righteous:
“Wherefore glorify ye the Lord in the fires, even the name of the Lord God of Israel in the isles of the sea. From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs, even glory to the righteous. But I said, My leanness, my leanness, woe unto me! The treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously; yea, the treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously. Fear, and the pit, and the snare are upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth. And it shall come to pass, that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit.”
“Fear” is one thing; the “Pit” is something else … “Don’t send us to the pit!” said the demons. Evidently somebody is out of the pit.
“… He that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake. 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 ….”
At the beginning we read that He turns the Earth upside down. Down is up and up is down. Here the Earth is utterly broken down, clean dissolved, and 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. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall punish the host of the high ones on high and the kings of the earth upon the earth. And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shut up in the prison, and after many days ….”
Evidently 1000 years.
After many days they’re going to be visited. That word “visited” is a powerful word, particularly in Old Testament Scripture and Old Testament prophecy. God is saying, “I am coming to visit you.” In other words, “I'm coming in judgment.”
“Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his agents gloriously.”
That’s Isaiah Chapter 24.
A Little Bit of Cosmology:
The solar system used to have nine planets, now only eight. Mercury is the first planet, then Venus, and the third rock from the sun is us — Planet Earth. In scientific terms, these planets are held in their orbital positions by something called angular momentum. In other words, there’s a force pushing the planet out, but another force holding the planet back. It’s really strange. The earth’s going to be clean removed. It's interesting that Isaiah says God’s going to turn the earth upside down. That fits Ellen White, because she says the sun comes up at midnight. How do you get the sun to come up at midnight? The earth is going to be clean removed, the Scripture says, out of its place; a cottage clean removed.
Many people pooh-pooh Immanuel Velikovsky, but they really don’t know what they’re talking about, because since his death many of his assertions have been proved to be factual. Cosmological history suggests the possibility that if one of these planets is moved out of its place—by whatever force—you can ellipse (or extend or lengthen) its orbit. It looks like this is what most likely happened in 701/702 BC. Whatever the flyby was it added 5¼ days to the earth’s orbit. Whatever the flyby is that is coming will add a thousand years to our orbit, so that it will take that long to come back to our place in the solar system. Something is going to kick us out of our place; that’s what the Bible says.
Said Jesus, “Think not that I'm come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I'm not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass [that’s our sky and ground], one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Matthew 5:17. Jesus said heaven and earth are going to pass. This is confirmed again in the Gospel of Luke. These words are mentioned again, but even more expressly. “Heaven and earth are going to pass away, but the law … is not going to pass away.” In other words there’s something more permanent than heaven and earth: the word of God, God's Law, God’s will—the doing of God. “Till heaven and earth pass …” is a statement of affirmation that one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till it’s all fulfilled.
We’re going to be kicked out of the comfortable orbit we’re in, and evidently we’re going to be sent on a very long elliptical orbit for a thousand Earth years. Apparently we’re going to be brought back very near the sun, where the sun will be seven times brighter; the moon will be many times brighter, as well. In order for that to happen you need to be nearer the sun.
These verses in Revelation 20 will be familiar to you; the story goes like this: An Angel comes down from heaven; he has the key of the bottomless pit. We’re back to the pit again. The angel has a great chain in his hand; he lays hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which, according to Revelation 9, got out of the pit. He laid hold on the dragon — the devil … Satan — and bound him a thousand years. The binding evidently takes place at the beginning of the thousand years, not the end. The angel casts the devil into the bottomless pit and shuts him up, setting a seal on him, that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years should be filled full. After that he must be loosed a little season. John says he saw thrones and those who are sitting upon them. Judgment is given to those sitting on the thrones. This is Chapter 20 we’re considering.
Chapter 4 of Revelation opens with thrones and those who are sitting upon them; and judgment is given to them. Here in Chapter 20 judgment is given unto them, and John saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, beheaded for the word of God. These had not worshiped 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.
The judgment being described here is at the beginning of the thousand years. But the rest of the dead live not again until the thousand years are finished. This is described as the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that has part in that first resurrection, on such the second death has no authority … no power, but they shall be priests of God and Christ and shall reign with him a thousand years. Whatever the thousand years is, it’s a big deal, for it to be repeated over and over.
When the thousand years are expired Satan shall be loosed out of his prison and go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth. How can Satan deceive the nations, since they’re all dead? They're all dead for a thousand years and then all brought back to life. When the thousand years are expired Satan will be loosed out of his prison, and he’s going to go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. These nations will go up on the breadth of the earth, compass the camp of the saints and the beloved city, until fire comes down from God out of heaven and devours them.
You and I are out here 93 million miles from the sun. Suppose when we come back we’re a bit closer to the sun. What could we expect to happen? Verse 9 tells us that the devil and the nations will go up on the breadth of the earth and surround the camp of the saints and the beloved city. Fire comes down from God out of heaven and devours them. The camp of the saints at this time is in Jerusalem; it's come here to this rock. Is it possible this fire is produced by the sun and our being so close to it?
Some people believe all this happens at the beginning of the thousand years, and some believe it happens at the end of the thousand years. It really doesn’t matter; you’re either with God for the thousand years, and with God at the end of the thousand years, or you’re in hot water. Whether the Holy City comes down at the beginning of the thousand years, or at the end, I careth not.
The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. What does that mean? Did He give just life? Did He also give substance? Did He give origin, birth, creation to all things? And the answer is yes. We are “stuff” creatures; created out of the “stuff” of creation, the Bible says … and so does science. God made us out of the stuff. Which was made first, stuff, or us? “Stuff,” of course.
God said to Adam and Eve that if they do the wrong thing, or make the wrong choice, they’re going to return to dead, lifeless “stuff.” Most of the world believes that when you die, you don’t really die; it’s just the stuff that dies. But there is going to be a supernatural destruction that is to include the destruction of angels … and we would regard angels to be supernatural beings … spirit beings. These evil angels are not made of stuff, at least, not stuff we’re familiar with. God created “stuff” before the angels were created. Angels, like us, are taken out of “stuff.” They may be at a different level of matter, or energy, or whatever, but they're made out of “stuff.” The Bible states that they are created beings.
The point is that before there was “stuff,” there was only God. All things that exist are taken out of God’s breath. If the end of a sinful man is returning to the “stuff” from which he or she was taken, then I submit to you that the end of angels is a return to whatever stuff they were taken from; whatever energy; whatever matter; they return to that. Fire comes down from God out of Heaven, says the Bible, and destroys them, or consumes them.
A huge question is, why not take care of business with the devil and his bunch right here at the beginning of the thousand years? What is going on at the end that couldn't go on at the beginning?
Consider these verses again, and notice that when the thousand years are expired Satan is going to be loosed out of his prison and go out to deceive the nations in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to the battle, the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. Do we think there are going to be more good folks in Heaven than bad folks in the lake of fire? Obviously, that’s up to God, but one thing we need to understand is that when you start counting who's in the lake of fire you have to count all the evil angels, because they are going into that lake of fire. These wicked ones go out upon the breadth of the earth, and they surround the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire comes down from God out of heaven and devours them. The devil that deceived them is cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and false prophet are, and they shall be tormented day and night forever and ever.
John says he saw a great white throne, and Him that sat upon it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. No place is found for them. This is talking about the heaven, the atmosphere, around the planet. The Apostle Peter said this heaven is going to be blown away. The earth and the atmosphere fled away, said John, and there was no place found for them. John saw the dead, small and great, stand before God, and the books were opened, and another book was opened which is (“the book” is supplied) of life. The dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books according to their works.
A thousand years before this somebody went somewhere. Who were the somebodies that went somewhere? These are the folks who are resurrected when Jesus comes with a loud voice saying, “Arise.” The Scripture record reads that we will be caught up to meet him in the air at the second-coming. We read here that another book is opened which is “of life,” and the dead are judged out of those things which were written in the books according to their works. Revelation 20 is the same as Daniel Chapter 7, telling us the Ancient of Days arrives, the books are opened and the judgment is set. Then those who shall be lost are thrown into the lake of fire.
Where do we place this judgment in this context … at the end of the thousand years? or at the beginning of the thousand years? Is judgment a one-day process? A one-year process? Or is it a thousand-year process? It's an -ING to an -ED process. The book of life is not about the dead, bad people. If their names were once in the Book, their names don’t remain in the Book. There is a process of elimination. There's also a process of inclusion. Everybody who's lived and died, eaten by sharks, blown apart by bullets, can still be resurrected. While they were here they were made out of “stuff.” When they come up they made out of new “stuff.” John says, “Now brethren, we don't know what we’re going to be … but we're going to be like Him.” That's all that matters.
Jesus was here and lived among us; He was nailed to the tree; put in the ground. But when He came out of the ground He’s able to walk through walls. He is now made out of changed “stuff.” “Come and feel me,” He said, “Because a spirit doesn’t have ‘stuff’ like I have.” But He still walked through the wall and disappeared. Then He ascends, and they see it. Likewise, you and I go into the ground as “stuff,” but when we come out we’re going to be “enhanced stuff.” We will still be “stuff,” but from then on it will be changed stuff. We’re going to learn what the reference in Hebrews is about, that God made man “a little while lower than the angels.” Whatever angels are made of, we're going to be made of even higher “stuff.” We’re going to be changed and glorified … from glory to glory.
If you know anything about physics and the way the universe is ordered, you’ll recognize, in physical terms, that there's an atom; but the atom is not just one thing, it's several things: protons, neutrons and electrons. And it appears to me that whatever we're going to be, we’re going to be energized several notches up the ladder — beyond atomic. Where would that energy come from? Adam and Eve ate of the Tree of Life, but they didn't live forever. They needed more than just “stuff” from this planet.
Jesus came down here as “stuff,” and while He was here He was receiving energy from His Father. He said the works He did were not His, but His Father’s. He was receiving energy; He told the blind man to look and see, and the lame man to get up and walk. But it was all temporary, because they died. But why was it temporary? Why wasn't His healing … forever healing? Obviously something had not taken place yet; He was not yet King of Kings and Lord of Lords. God permitted Him, enabled Him and empowered Him to work miracles here to give people hope; to give you and me hope; to give us hope to hang on until He can get the job done.
My point is that Jesus left whatever dimension God exists in, and took our form. He took “stuff;” He made Himself of no divine reputation and became “stuff” like us. When He came out of the grave He was the same “stuff,” but enhanced, glorified, whatever we want to call it. Did He have to go to heaven to find out if that was a permanent arrangement? The answer is yes. “Don't hold me back,” He said, “I have not yet ascended to my Father.” The purpose of ascending to His Father was part of the plan of salvation. As our faithful High Priest He had to be verified clean, so He went with that earthly “stuff” into the presence of His Father. He asked His Father, according to Ellen White, if His sacrifice was acceptable. What the judgment will do is declare that everything necessary has been done. “It is done,” has not been spoken yet. That's why I can say, at the risk of my neck, it is not yet finished; it’s not yet done. The only way we can make sense of our still being here after, not two thousand years, but six thousand years, is that there's something still lacking. Something is yet required and to be accomplished. God is in the process of doing whatever is necessary, while He's got a whole bunch of kids down here in the backseat saying, “Are we there yet?”
This is where we are, and who we are; and God is in the unwinnable position of having to be Daddy, Granddaddy, Judge and Savior. He's got to be all things. So He gives us a little hope down here, because He's a God of love. He understands our condition and knows that we are sick and fed up with all of this. So is He! The fact that time lingers proves to me that it is necessary, otherwise you cannot justify time stretching out the way it has.
I have to be forgiving to the fathers. I'm not forgiving to my neighbors — the church in its current state — because we ought to know better. We ought to know far more than we do.
John goes on to say he saw the dead, small and great, stand before God. The books were opened. 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. John saw the sea give up the dead which were in it. Death and hell (the grave) delivered up the dead which were in them, and they were judged every man according to their works. Death and the grave were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death, John says. Whatever the lake of fire is going to be, whether it's God saying, “Be gone,” or whether it's black hole radiation, it doesn't matter; the lost will be thrown into a fiery end — a fiery lake. John goes on to say that whosoever is not found written in the Book of Life is cast into the lake of fire.
This judgment the whole world needs to witness is about finding out if your name is still in the Book of Life. Right now everybody's name is in the Book. I'm not sure the devil and his bunch are in there. But once the judgment is finished Christ will make the declaration that it is complete … done … over. The work of salvation will be filled full, and whoever is in … is in, and whoever is out … is out.