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Questions On Doctrine


Adventist Understanding of the Millennium



What do Adventists understand to be the chronological timing of the millennium in relation to the end of the age, the nature of its two resurrections, the sequence of its major events, and the outcome and sequel of the millennial period? Please outline your view.


The word "millennium" has come to have a specialized meaning in the minds of most Christians—a thousand-year period when Christ will reign on earth with His saints amid plenty, peace, and progressively increasing righteousness. The word does not occur in the Bible. It is derived from the Latin words mille and annum, meaning "thousand" and "year." A thousand-year reign of the saints with Christ is foretold in Revelation 20:2-7, but there is no statement in that chapter that the saints will reign with Christ on earth during this period.

The vision that delineates the thousand years is one of a series that must be considered as a chronological sequence if we are to succeed in placing the millennium in its proper relationship to other eschatological events. Revelation 19 depicts the second advent of our Lord. Chapter 20 speaks of the binding of


Satan, two resurrections one thousand years apart, the general judgment of evildoers, and their destruction in the lake of fire. Revelation 21 pictures the descent of the Holy City, New Jerusalem; and chapter 22 continues the description of the city and the joys of the redeemed in the eternal state. There seems to be nothing in these chapters to indicate that this is not a chronological sequence of events. With the aid of parallel Bible passages that describe the second coming of Christ, the resurrection, and the final punishment of the wicked, it is possible to outline the events of the millennium from beginning to end with an assurance of accuracy.

I. The Second Advent of Christ

In Revelation 19 Christ is pictured at His second coming as a mighty warrior leading the armies of heaven to battle against the hosts of evil (verses 11-16). This emphasizes the effect of His coming upon the unsaved.

In Revelation 14 Christ is pictured as coming on a cloud, crowned as King of kings. In that chapter the gathering of the righteous and wicked is depicted under the figure of a harvest. In verses 15 and 16 the righteous are gathered as "the harvest of the earth." The wicked are also reaped as "the clusters of the vine of the earth"—"fully ripe" grapes-and "cast . . . into the great winepress of the wrath of God" (verses 18, 19). This "winepress" is mentioned again in chapter 19, where it is said of Christ that "he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God" (verse 15).


II. The Death of All Sinners

To the rebellious sinners of earth Christ comes as judge and avenger, in overpowering glory, with fire and sword, in final battle against the hosts of evil men who make their last stand in defiance of Him, and He gives to the birds the flesh of the kings, captains, mighty men, and all men free and bond, small and great (Rev. 19:17-19). Revelation elsewhere pictures the same class of people cowering before the face of the Lamb, and the upheavals of nature accompanying the second advent—the heavens departing as a scroll and every mountain and island shaken out of place (Rev. 6:14-17). In both chapter 19 and chapter 14 the effect of Christ's coming on the wicked is described under the figure of treading out grapes in a winepress, with blood pouring out of the winepress by the space of 1,600 furlongs (Rev. 14:20). Overwhelming destruction could hardly be more graphically described. Not only does nature cooperate with an upheaval that changes the geography of the earth and shakes down all the work of men's hands, but all the organized opposition to God comes to a sudden end as men individually tremble before their Creator and true King and Lord.

The "beast" and "false prophet," symbols of organized apostasy in earlier visions of Revelation, who are accused of deceiving evil men into continued rebellion against God, are pictured as being cast alive into a lake of fire (Rev. 19:20). The apostle Paul, looking with prophetic eye down the stream of time, described the mystery of iniquity in a personalized name, "that Wicked" (2 Thess. 2:8), "whom the Lord shall 


consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming." And Revelation 19 ends the description of the total destruction of the wicked with the words, "And the remnant [the remaining sinners] were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh" (verse 21). Making proper allowance for figures of speech and prophetic symbolism, we may conclude that all the unrighteous who do not meet their end in these upheavals will be destroyed by the brightness of Christ's visible presence as He appears "in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God" (2 Thess. 1:8).

III. The Binding of Satan

The very next event described in the book of Revelation (chapter 20:1-3) is the binding of Satan with a great chain, under the figure of the dragon, in order that he might not deceive the nations for a thousand years. Since this is a symbolic scene, it is not necessary to suppose that either the chain or the bottomless pit is literal. The dragon is identified as Satan, and the meaning of the other symbols we may deduce from the context. Satan's followers have all been destroyed at the second advent. The righteous, as we shall see in the next section, are removed from his domain. The earth is in utter desolation, with dead bodies everywhere. It is only necessary, then, to understand by the symbols that Satan is consigned by divine fiat to the earth, there for one thousand years to ponder on the results of his rebellion against God.


IV. The Resurrection of the Righteous

The scene changes. John sees thrones of judgment on which sit "the blessed and holy" ones who have part in the first resurrection (Rev. 20:4, 6). "They came to life again, and reigned with Christ a thousand years" (verse 4, R.S.V.). Specifically John sees the martyrs and those who had gotten the victory over the beast and his image (prophetic symbols of apostasy, from chapters 13 and 14). Do those who reign with Christ during the thousand years include more than the martyrs and the faithful from the last generation who withstood the wiles of apostasy? The answer must be sought in other scriptures describing the resurrection that follows the second coming of Christ in power and great glory. Nowhere in the Bible (unless this be the case in Revelation 20) is there a mention of a resurrection of only martyrs; but there are references to "the resurrection of the just" (Luke 14:14) and "the resurrection of life" in contrast to "the resurrection of damnation" (John 5:29), which corresponds to the division in Revelation 20 between the two resurrections. "They that are Christ's" are raised "at his coming" (1 Cor. 15:23). "The dead in Christ shall rise" when the Lord descends from heaven "with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God" (1 Thess. 4:16). This is elsewhere referred to as "the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible" (1 Cor. 15:52). And Jesus described His coming in the clouds of heaven—seen by all, and mourned by the tribes of earth who are not ready for Him—as the time when at the sound of the trumpet


his elect" are gathered from all the earth (Matt. 24: 30; Mark 13:26, 27). All these accounts of a glorious, visible, audible coming, with the sounding of the trumpet, are connected with the gathering of Christ's elect, the raising of the dead in Christ, and the changing from mortality to immortality. This is obviously the first resurrection of Revelation 20.

V. The Translation of the Living Righteous

The prophet John saw on the thrones of judgment those "which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands" (Rev. 20:4). Since there are only two classes of people on the earth when Christ comes—the righteous and the sinners, the "sheep" and the "goats" (Matt. 25:32, 33)—those who have not worshiped the beast must represent the living righteous in the last generation who have not bowed the knee to apostasy and who are prepared to welcome Christ when He comes. The apostle Paul describes that blessed event: "We shall not all sleep [die], but we shall all be changed" when "the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible," for "this mortal must put on immortality" (1 Cor. 15:51-53). This is when "we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air" (1 Thess. 4:17)

VI. The Righteous All Taken to Heaven

In John's view of the righteous during the thousand years, it is not specified just where the reigning with Christ takes place. He says simply, "I saw thrones, and


they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: . . . and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years" (Rev. 20:4). But other texts make this clear. In 1 Thessalonians 4:17, just quoted, the righteous are said to "meet the Lord in the air," "caught up . . . in the clouds." From this we conclude that Christ at His second advent does not touch the sin-polluted earth, but "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" (Matt. 24:31).

And the place to which the saved are taken at this time is indicated by the Saviour's own words of comfort to His disciples on the evening before His crucifixion: "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. 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" (John 14:2, 3). The place to which Christ takes His saints is described as "my Father's house" where there are "many mansions" (more properly, "dwelling places"). The implication is almost unavoidable that the destination of the righteous at the second advent is heaven—not the earth from which they are removed at the last trump.
*Revelation 5:10 is sometimes quoted to prove that the saints will reign with Christ on earth during the millennium. The text reads: "And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth." The expression "kings and priests" in this text is similar to an expression in Revelation 20: "they shall he priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." There is nothing in Revelation 5:10 or its context to make it imperative to apply the "reign" on the earth" to the thousand-year period of Revelation 20. The problem is, Can we consider these texts parallel? Exegesis cannot answer the question. Seventh-day Adventists believe that this "reign on the earth" applies to the righteous after the close of the millennium when the saints with Christ and the holy city return to this earth. (See Revelation 21, 22.) Then with sin and sinners destroyed, the righteous shall reign with Him through all eternity.


Thus we have an explanation of what happens to the two classes on earth when the Lord comes. While one is left on the earth, dead, for the birds to consume, the other is taken alive to be forever with the Lord.

VII. The Judgment and the Thousand Years

The apostle John describes the activities of the saved in heaven very briefly: "They . . . reigned with Christ a thousand years" (Rev. 20:4). The question may properly be asked, Over whom will the saints reign if all the wicked have been destroyed? That the saints will receive the kingdom, is specifically stated in other texts. When the seventh angel sounds, "the kingdoms of this world . . . become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ" (Rev. 11:15), and Daniel speaks of the "kingdom and dominion and the greatness of the kingdom" being "given to the people of the saints of the most High" (Dan. 7:27). The saints have been under the oppressive rule of the kings who have drunk of the wine of Babylon's fornication (Rev. 18:3). Now the tables are turned, and the saints of the Most High rule over their oppressors. It is true that the wicked are dead, but they will return to life at the end of the millennium (Rev. 20:5). They are shut up, as it were, later to receive their punishment. The exercise of dominion by the righteous over the wicked is indicated in the expressions, "judgment was given unto them" (verse 4) and "they . . . reigned with Christ" (verse 4), who has received "the kingdoms of this world" (Dan. 7:27).


In the discussion of the investigative judgment (see Question 36), were covered those features of the total judgment work that logically must be completed before Christ returns in glory. There we showed that the cases of those eventually saved must be examined before the second advent, and they must be "accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead" (Luke 20:35), and also "worthy to escape all these things [the troubles predicted by Christ] . . . and to stand before the Son of man" (Luke 21:36). Since all the wicked alive on earth at Christ's coming suffer the first death—the death common to all mankind and do not live again until after the thousand years, the decisions regarding their punishment need not be reached before the second advent.

Both Daniel and John state that judgment was given to the saints, or the resurrected ones (Dan. 7:22; Rev. 20:4). In Revelation 20 the word "judgment" is from the Greek word krima, which generally means "sentence," "verdict," or "a decision rendered." Here krima seems to mean the authority to pass sentence. The passage does not refer to a verdict in favor of the righteous. In the Septuagint of Daniel, the word for "judgment" is krisis, the "act of judging"; but in the Theodotion Greek version it is rendered krima. The work of judgment referred to by the revelator is doubtless that spoken of by the apostle Paul: "Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? . . . Know ye not that we shall judge angels?" (1 Cor. 6:2, 3). The work of judgment may well involve a careful investigation of the records of evil men and a decision regarding the amount of punishment due each sinner for his part in the rebellion against God.


Justice demands that great sinners be punished more severely than those whose sins were of a lesser nature. True, all sinners will be punished with eternal death, but eventual extinction can hardly be conceived of as a graduated punishment. It is the suffering before the second death that can be measured out to fit the extent of the sinner's personal responsibility for his rebellion. Christ Himself set forth the principle, "That servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes" (Luke 12:47, 48).

Since the saved reign on thrones "with Christ," the judge of all men, it is apparent that they will concur in the decisions reached. Thus the saints are completely satisfied that God is just, and that even the destruction of incorrigible sinners is an evidence of His love

VIII. The Earth as Satan's Desolate Prison House

Not only do the Bible descriptions of the second coming of Christ depict the destruction of all the unrighteous living on the earth, but they also speak of the desolation of the globe. In Revelation 6, the earthly effects of Christ's coming are described briefly but graphically: "Every mountain and island were moved out of their places" (verse 14). In Revelation 11 the final events are again depicted: "There were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail" (verse 19). In Revelation 16, under the seventh plague, the details of the destruction are more vividly delineated: "The seventh angel poured out his


vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple in heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. . . . And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent" (verses 17-21).

It is difficult to imagine a more complete destruction of all the recognizable physical aspects of the earth's surface. An earthquake of such globe-shattering proportions as to shake down every mountain, and overwhelm every island in some vast tidal wave, could hardly leave anything of man's works intact in the wreckage. A substantial proportion of earth's inhabitants may lose their lives in this cataclysm, for it is said in Revelation 19:21: "The remnant [the terrified survivors who are left after all this has happened] were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth." Evidently the earthquake and hailstorm take place just as Christ appears in the clouds of heaven.

Satan's confinement to the earth in this condition is very fittingly described in the symbolic language of prophecy: "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, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand


years should be fulfilled" (Rev. 20:2, 3). He can "deceive the nations no more" because the unsaved are all dead, and the righteous, both the living and the resurrected of all ages, have been taken to heaven. With his fallen angel companions, Satan must await amid this desolation the final disposition of the cases of all the unredeemed in the court above. In contrast with this, we see the saints in heaven, those whom Satan thought to overcome and destroy, sitting in judgment (Rev. 20:4) with their Lord.

This is the time, we believe, when the words of the apostle Paul will be fulfilled: "Know ye not that we shall judge angels?" (1 Cor. 6:3).

There is yet further significance that Seventh-day Adventists attach to Satan's thousand-year duress in desolation. In the symbolism of Israel's Day of Atonement in the typical sanctuary service of old, after the goat "for the Lord" was slain as an atoning sacrifice, the repentant sinner's guilt was canceled, and his sins were forgiven, in type, through the shed blood. Then, after the atonement was thus completed, the other goat ("for Azazel")—whom we believe symbolized Satan, man's malignant seducer—was declared guilty of the instigation of all evil, and was sent away alive into the uninhabited wilderness, bearing to oblivion the responsibility for all sins that he had led Israel to commit (Lev. 16:20-22).

Thus the penalty was first remitted to the repentant sinner through the divinely appointed Substitute, symbolizing Christ. Afterward, retributive punishment was visited upon the type of the archtempter and instigator of sin, who was consigned to the wilderness to die.


Even W. Robertson Nichol (The Expositor's Greek Testament, vol. 5, p. 471), after commenting on the shutting up of Satan in prison mentioned in Revelation 20, interestingly alludes to the "fettering of Azazel,"* and to "divine restraint" put for a time upon that "evil spirit."

This, we believe to be part of the picture involved in the imprisonment of Satan, as he is "shut up," without opportunity to deceive the nations until the thousand years are fulfilled.

IX. Literal Resurrection the Central Fact of the Gospel

Seventh-day Adventists hold the Christian doctrine of the future life to be based on the resurrection (1 Cor. 15:51-55; 1 Thess. 4:16). The righteous, made alive through the first resurrection, have no part in the second death, which is for the wicked only. And after the second death there is no further resurrection, or future life, for the wicked. The second advent resurrection marks the beginning of the immortality of the saints (1 Cor. 15:51-57).

Revelation 20 separates the first resurrection from that of the rest of the dead, and places it at the beginning of the thousand years. Over those who come up in this resurrection the "second death hath no power" (verse 6). And we are expressly told that the resurrected saints, who are called "blessed and holy" (verse 6), live and reign (verse 4) with Christ during the thousand years. They not only come to life, but continue to live forevermore.
"Azazel is by many scholars recognized as a name indicating Satan. (See William Jenks, Comprehensive Commentary of the Holy Bible, vol. 1, p. 410; Charles Beecher, Redeemer and Redeemed, pp. 67, 68; Jewish Encyclopedia, vol. 2, p. 366; Albert Whalley, The Red Letter Days of Israel, p. 125; John Eadie, Biblical Encyclopedia, p. 577.


The first resurrection (of the righteous) is obviously in contrast to the second (of the wicked), which occurs at the end of the thousand years. And the "rest of the dead" stand in contrast to the previously mentioned first group of the dead. The apostle Paul referred to the coming forth of "every man in his own order" (1 Cor. 15:23). First came the resurrection of Christ, the first fruits. Then comes that of the saints at the second advent. And now, in Revelation 20, at the close of the thousand years, the wicked come forth. There is definitely a resurrection of the just and of the unjust (Acts 24:15). These resurrections are a thousand years apart (Rev. 20:4, 5)—the first unto life and the second to damnation (John 5:29).

With hosts of others, we hold to the literal first resurrection (Greek, anastasis*), as being that of the body. We firmly believe that the two resurrections—the first as well as the second—are literal, physical, corporeal, and that the first resurrection is confined to the saints, and precedes that of the sinners—the "rest of the dead"—by the millennial thousand years. Language could not be plainer in establishing the fact of two resurrections.

We therefore totally reject the "spiritual" first resurrection hypotheses of Augustinianism, postmillennialism, and amillennialist as being wholly at variance with the inspired declarations. We believe that both resurrections are of those who have been literally dead and who are literally raised from the dead.
*Anastasias is thirty-nine times rendered "resurrection," and three times "rising." there should be no uncertainty here. That the "rest of the dead" can only be taken to mean the wicked dead, is held by Alford Faucet Elliott, Milligan, Peaveys, Gamboling, Scoffed, Morgan, Torres, Forehead, and many others.


We are in complete agreement with the sound contention of Dean Henry Alford (The Greek Testament, 1884, vol. 4, pp. 732, 733), who declared:

If in such a passage the first resurrection may be understood to mean spiritual rising with Christ, while the second means literal rising from the grave;—then there is an end of all significance in language, and Scripture is wiped out as a definite testimony to any thing. If the first resurrection is spiritual, then so is the second, which I suppose none will be hardy enough to maintain: but if the second is literal, then so is the first, which in common with the whole primitive Church and many of the best modern expositors, I do maintain, and receive as an article of faith and hope.

We, as Adventists, believe that man is a candidate for immortality—which is to be received as a gift through Christ at His second advent (1 Cor. 15:51-57)—and likewise believe in unconscious sleep in death pending the resurrection. That is the reason for our hope in the resurrection. We hold with the great English Reformer, William Tyndale, Bible translator and martyr, who declared: "If their souls be in heaven, tell me why they be not in as good case as the angels be; and then what cause is there of the resurrection?"

Dr. William Temple, the late Archbishop of Canterbury, in the Drew Lecture on Immortality, in October, 1931, at Sino College, London, stated our view, as well as his own, when he asserted:

Man is not immortal by nature or of right; but there is offered to him resurrection from the dead and life eternal, if he will receive it from God and on God's terms. It [the core of the doctrine of the future life] is a doctrine, not of ["natural"] Immortality, but of Resurrection.


X. Satan Loosed Briefly at Millennium's Close

The scene on earth is indeed a gloomy one—wrecks of once-inhabited cities, and the ruin of pomp and splendor—grim reminders of the teeming world that Satan had led in futile rebellion against God. And now, at the close of the thousand years, Christ, accompanied by all the saints, descends to earth in awesome power, glory, and majesty, to execute judgment upon the wicked. He then bids the wicked dead to rise. And in answer to the summons, the mighty host, numberless as the sands of the sea, responds (Rev. 20:8). Not only the "sea" but "death" (sin's inseparable ally) and "hell" (Greek, Hades), grim receptacle of death's prey, each delivers up its quota of the wicked dead.

This is in harmony with Isaiah's description: "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" (Isa. 24:22). But this second resurrection is the resurrection of "damnation" (John 5:29). These that now come forth comprise the "rest of the dead," who "lived not again until the thousand years were finished" (Rev. 20:5).* And the nations of Gog and Magog are revived by means of, or resulting from, the second resurrection. And they overspread the earth.

The wicked are raised with the same rebellious spirit that possessed them in life, and stand in the presence of the Eternal. They see the vast city of God,
*While some claim that the clause, "the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years are finished," is spurious, the English Revised, American Revised, and Revised Standard, as well as Rotterdam, Tischendorf, Westport and Hurt, Groesbeck Wordsworth, Lachlan, Treeless, Nestle, Weymouth, and Alford all retain it. In fact, only one major manuscript, the Codex Semitics, omits the clause.


the New Jerusalem, which descends from God out of heaven (Rev. 21:2, 3). Christ returns to the same Mount of Olives, outside Old Jerusalem (Zech. 14:4), from which He ascended after His resurrection, when the angelic messengers gave assurance of His return from heaven (Acts 1:9-12).

Through the resurrection of the wicked, Satan is thus "loosed" for a "little season" (Rev. 20:3). His enforced idleness is over, after his thousand-year period of captivity (verses 7, 8). Desperate hope springs once again in his evil heart as he sees the innumerable hosts of the wicked of all ages. Then comes the last mighty struggle for supremacy. Deceiving them into thinking that they can take the city of God, he marshals the wicked hordes into frenzied battle array in a final, futile assault * upon the "camp of the saints," the beloved Holy City, in an endeavor to overthrow the kingdom of God (verses 8, 9). The wicked who stubbornly refused an entrance into the City of God through the merits of Christ's sacrificial atonement, now determine to gain admission and control by siege and battle.

The last act in the great conflict of the ages now takes place, as the entire human race meets face to face for the first and last time. Satan's supreme attempt proves that he is still in rebellion, and evil men show themselves still to be only evil. The eternal separation of the righteous from the wicked is now irrevocably fixed. Then, from the great white throne, the sentence of doom is pronounced upon the wicked.

* "Went up" (verse 9), according to Dusterdieck, is an idiomatic expression for a military expedition, the place of attack usually being an elevated position—here, that of Jerusalem—seen from all quarters. In other words, it is a portrayal of an invading army overspreading the land.


And the sentence is followed by immediate execution. It is evidently during this last episode that the Master's words come to pass: "There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out" (Luke 13:28).

XI. Final Destruction of Satan and the Wicked

The drama of the ages ends in Satan's final and irrevocable overthrow, and his utter extinction—as well as that of all who follow him—when fire comes down from God out of heaven and devours him (2 Peter 3:10, 11; Rev. 20:9). The very surface of the earth appears to melt, and becomes a vast seething "lake of fire" (Rev. 20:10), for the judgment and "perdition of ungodly men" (2 Peter 3:7).*

The earth burns "as an oven"; the wicked "shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts" (Mal. 4:1). So in the cleansing flames of the final conflagration, the wicked—Satan, evil angels, and impenitent men—are all at last destroyed by fire, root and branch. Even death and hades, joint partners, are cast into this lake of fire (Rev. 20:14), with no release, no escape from its dread destruction. The punishment is everlasting (Matt. 25: 46** and constitutes the second death, from which
*According to 2 Peter 3:3-13, the ancient world that perished in the flood of water prefigured the final deluge of fire. In this overwhelming conflagration not only do the ungodly perish, but the very earth dissolves, and its evil works are burned up. The "elements" are not annihilated, but are "melted," and so every taint of sin and trace of the curse are purged away.

**"Everlasting punishment" (Matt. 25:46) is not endless punishing, nor is "everlasting destruction" (2 Thess. 1:9) endless destroying, any more than "eternal salvation" (Heb. 5:9) is endless saving, or "eternal judgment" (Heb. 6:2) is endless judging. The "eternal" pertains to the result, and not to the process.


there is no resurrection. In this we are in accord with the late Archbishop William Temple, already cited, who, in discussing "the ultimate fate of the soul which refuses the love of God," went on record thus:

One thing we can say with confidence: everlasting torment is to be ruled out. If men had not imported the Greek and unbiblical notion of the natural indestructibility of the individual soul, and then read the New Testament with that already in their minds, they would have drawn from it a belief, not in everlasting torment, but in annihilation. It is the fire that is called aeonian, not the life cast into it.—Christian Faith and Life, 1931, p. 81 (address in 1931 in University Church at Oxford).

This fire was prepared primarily for the devil and his angels (Matt. 25:41). But it engulfs all who choose to follow them. This is the fire of Gehenna that completely consumes everything consigned thereto (Mark 9:43-48). David foretold: "Upon the wicked he shall rain snares ["quick burning coals," margin], fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup" (Ps. 11:6). Such is the final doom that ends forever the long rebellion against God, His law, and His government.

But upon the righteous, who were raised in the first resurrection, "the second death hath no power" (Rev. 20:6). The saints dwell without harm in the city of God, amid "the devouring fire" and the "everlasting burnings" (Isa. 33:14). While to the wicked, God is a "consuming fire" (Heb. 12:29), to the righteous He is a protecting shield.


Out of the smoldering ruins of this old earth, there springs forth "a new heaven and a new earth" (Rev. 21:1) wherein the redeemed find their everlasting inheritance and dwelling place. When the new earth appears, mourning, tears, pain, and death are all "passed away" (Rev. 21:4). Death is destroyed (1 Cor. 15:26; Rev. 21:4). There is no more curse (Rev. 22:3), and God is all in all (1 Cor. 15:28).

The close of the millennium marks the beginning of the eternal new earth state. The millennial events are all of divine wisdom, divine grace, divine power, and divine intervention. In this way, and at this time, we understand the redeemed of all nations will come into the promised possession of the everlasting kingdom of glory, for which they have so long waited (Dan. 7:18; Rev. 22:5).

Ellen G. White beautifully expresses our conviction:

The great controversy is ended. Sin and sinners are no more. The entire universe is clean. One pulse of harmony and gladness beats through the vast creation. From Him who created all, flow life and light and gladness, throughout the realms of illimitable space. From the minutest atom to the greatest world, all things, animate and inanimate, in their unshadowed beauty and perfect joy, declare that God is love.—The Great Controversy, p. 678.
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