Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 3 * BOOK 13
NEW HEAVEN AND EARTH
Now let’s come back to Revelation Chapter 20 once again. And now the Kingdom has run its course of Utopian rule. No sin. No death. Now it’s a possibility that it could happen, I’m going to maintain that it’s not going to happen. But the thousand-year reign of Christ is another time of testing. You have to realize if you’ve been with me these past three and a half years (and many of you have been with me the better part of twenty years), that as we’ve come up through human history, God has changed His dealing with the human race. Now God didn’t change. But He changed in His dealings.
In other words, when Adam and Eve were in the garden, God dealt with them under those circumstances. The garden was theirs to enjoy. God communed with them everyday. And everything was pretty simple. Then all of a sudden sin entered. And then what happened? A whole new ball game. Adam and Eve are expelled from the garden. All of a sudden they have to work with the sweat of their brow. Sin, and the curse is now on the scene. And that’s certainly far different than it was in the garden. And that went on until it got so bad that God destroyed the whole human race with the exception of Noah and his family. Then they come out of the ark and what happened? Another whole different set of circumstances. Totally different than it was before the flood. And so that goes on. And then the next great event in history is the Tower of Babel. All those new generations of people coming out of the sons of Noah have gathered in rebellion. That’s what the tower of Babel really is. It’s a place of rebellion. And again, God intervenes and confuses all their languages and what happens? God scatters them.
Then He calls Abraham, and again it’s something totally different. He now is going to deal with one special little race of people. That’s why they are called “The chosen race.” They’re Covenant people. Again, that’s totally different than what He’s ever done before. Then along comes Moses about 1500 BC. At God’s direction, Moses gives Israel the Law. You and I have no idea what it was to live under the Mosaic Law. That put such pressure on the Jew, and you need to remember it was far different than the law practiced by Judaism today. To live under the pure Law of Moses, was to live under the constant threat of what? Death! If they picked up sticks to build a fire on the Sabbath Day they knew that death was waiting for them. One act of adultery would result in the same thing. There was no mercy. That was Law. Then along comes the Apostle Paul and to the amazement of the Jew in his day, as well as the Jew to this day, Paul proclaims that you are not under Law, but under Grace. That’s a whole different set of circumstances.
When you get into the millennial thousand-year Kingdom Age it too, is a different program altogether. If you were comparing all of them, it would be more like the Garden of Eden than any of the others. But rather than two people involved, we are going to have literally billions. The world’s population is going to explode. So the Kingdom will run its course, and remember only believers go into the Kingdom. Never forget what Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:3, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” So there will only be believing people in the Kingdom, and they will start having children. Satan is locked up during this time. We saw that in Revelation 20. Let’s look at it for a moment, and pick it up in the text at the onset of the Kingdom. John sees this in the Spirit of Prophecy:
“AND I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him (how long?) a thousand years,” There’s that concept again of the thousand-year period of time. Now verse 3:
“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 (what’s the next word?), till (a time word) the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.”
So why is God going to release Satan after this thousand-year reign? He’s got him off the scene and they have had a thousand years of Utopian rule, and everything has been glorious and perfect. Why let that rascal out again? Well, why did God bring Satan on the scene in the first place? To bring the human race to a place of choice. That’s why God gave each of us a will. Historically, young boys and girls were matched for marriage by parents or grandparents and I guess it worked better than they do today. But under our culture, can you think of anything worse than to have someone choose your mate for you? After all, we are under the concept that we will look for our mate until we find one that we really love. And when we find the right one, and he or she loves in return, what do we think we’ve got? That marriage made in heaven.
The same concept is what brought God and the human race into the picture. God didn’t create robots. He created a being with a free will, and emotions. And so God said, “I’m going to extend my love to these creatures, I won’t force them to love me in return, but I’m going to expect love returned.” Do you see the difference? He had every right to expect the human race to love Him back, because after all, He loved them first, but He didn’t force them. So we know that the sad commentary of the human race is, “They spurned God’s love for the most part.” And all because they would rather follow the adversary. If God had not permitted Satan to come into the picture, mankind would have never had a choice. They would have had no will to exercise. They would have been like robots. He would have been the only way and the only choice.
It’s the same way here in the Kingdom. For a thousand years it will be beautiful, and all of these new children coming on the scene with that old Adamic nature, but no power of Satan to trigger it. So there has been no rebellion, no wickedness, no sin. The King is in absolute control. But have they ever made a choice? No! They have had to be obedient to the King, because of the circumstances. So at the end of the thousand years, we’ll have all of these billions of new generation children, some of them almost a thousand years old. They have been obedient by virtue of no choice. But now God is going to give them a choice to choose of their own free will just like he gave you and I. God is going to let Satan come back and they can either follow him or remain true to God. Do you have the picture? Satan must be loosed for a little season. In verse 7 we pick it up after the thousand years has run its course:
“And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,” Remember there are, I think, billions of people in the world at this time.
“And shall go out to deceive the (what’s the next word?) nations (now these nations are back up to full complement and are now going to be exposed to the tempting of Satan) which are in the four quarters of the earth,…”
You might say how could this be possible since they have had it so perfect for a thousand years. Listen! How good did Adam and Eve have it. They also had it perfect. I always like to tell my classes that Eve had the best husband there ever was. On the other hand, Adam had the best wife there ever was. A lot of people think I have, but Adam had a better one. They were perfect. But under those perfect, ideal circumstances, Satan came and did he succeed? You bet he did. And how did he succeed? He couldn’t say to Eve, “Listen honey, I can bring you a better man than Adam.” That isn’t what he said. He didn’t go to Adam and say, “I can find you a better wife than Eve.” That’s part of the temptations that confront people today. They’re not satisfied with their present spouse, because old Satan tells them there might be a better one out there.
Satan knew they had everything that the human race could possible want, except for one thing. And what was it? That they would be like God. That was THE LIE and temptation, and that’s going to be his same ploy here. He will come to this generation of people and they’re going to say, “Well, wait a minute, we have it so good.” But he will say, “You’re not like God, wouldn’t you like to be just like God?” And they will fall for it again. Verse 8 continuing, remember old Satan has gone forth to deceive the nations:
“…Gog and Magog (that northern confederation of nations we have studied before), to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.”
Tremendous amounts of people. They will be under Satan’s control, because he is their leader at this time. Who are they going to have to battle and conspire against? Christ, The King. It’s almost like a repeat of the battle of Armageddon. They will arrange themselves again around Jerusalem, and will try to destroy Christ and His Kingdom. Satan never gives up. Look what happens.
“And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city (Jerusalem): and fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.”
We don’t know whether all of them have rebelled or most of them, but we do know “the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.” This will probably be the vast majority of them who will be zapped right off the scene. We have now come to the end of human history as the Bible knows it. From this point on we go into eternity. Time has now come to its final end. It has been seven thousand years from Adam!
“And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone (that’s not hell. We’ll look at the difference between hell and the lake of fire in the next lesson), where the beast (the Anti-christ) and the false prophet (the leader of the world religious system) are (notice these other two, who are human, have already been in the lake of fire for the full thousand years), and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”
People who preach that hell and the lake of fire are annihilation and that’s the end, are evidently not reading this verse. The Book says the lake of fire is going to be the eternal abode. Verse 11. We find Satan is now off the scene, the earth has come to the end of its usefulness so far as human history is concerned. And I like to think that here is where we pick up the verses of II Peter Chapter 3. I know among the scholars and theologians there is a lot of controversy as to whether these verses apply to the end of the Tribulation, or to the end of the thousand years. I personally think they are at the end of the thousand years. Because the present day earth, even after it has been restored for the Kingdom Age, will be totally destroyed. Not with a flood again, but by fire. And then we will have a new heaven and a new earth. Because heaven is still going to be on the earth. That flies in the face of a lot of people’s thinking, but it’s still true.
II Peter 3:10
“But the day of the Lord (and remember the day of the Lord scripturally goes all the way from the Rapture into eternity. That whole period of time is considered the day of the Lord)will come as a thief in the night (after this semicolon you can leap a thousand years in time with a punctuation mark); in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements (that make up the planet) shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”
It’s amazing that Peter, the uneducated Galilean fisherman, used the same language that science uses today. What words am I talking about? Elements, the fervent heat, and in verse 11 the word `dissolved.’ These are words you use when you get into physics and chemistry.
II Peter 3:11
“Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation (manner of living) and godliness.”
The world in general doesn’t take that into consideration. They think it will just keep on going. We were talking in our class the other night and the conversation came up about how much concern the 20 and 30-year-old young people have about spiritual and eternal things. Bless their hearts, for the most part it’s not very much. I’m not putting all young people in that group, but the vast majority fits into it. They don’t seem to comprehend that this old world is not going to keep going. Peter says, “We should take all this into consideration”Now verse 12:
II Peter 3:12
“Looking for and hasting (or actually be a part of hasting His coming. And the way you and I can hasten His coming is literally win people to the Lord. Because the faster they are won to the Lord, the sooner the Body of Christ will be full and then that will be the triggering mechanism for bringing it all in) unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements (everything that makes up the earth) shall melt with fervent heat?”
II Peter 3:13
“Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”
Go back to Revelation Chapter 20. I want you to see this same kind of setting. The thousand years have ended, we are ready for eternity, and heaven and earth have fled away. They have been burned up. But as soon as we get to Chapter 21, in the very first verse John says, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth…” So that’s coming in the future. But for now let’s look at the Great WhiteThrone.
“And I saw a great white throne (you’ve heard of the 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 as this Great White Throne is set up some place out in the area of space. It’s not in heaven and not on the earth because they are being burned up. But here’s this Great White Throne of which Christ is the eternal judge. And now John says as he see this great multitude coming before the Great White Throne:
“And I saw the dead,…”
Now several lessons ago we talked about the two resurrections. The first resurrection was the resurrection of the just or saved. But the second resurrection was the resurrection of all the lost and that it would take place at the end of the Kingdom rule. This is the bringing out of hell all the lost of the ages. They too will have resurrected bodies even as they stand before this Great White Throne. Remember, Jesus said in John Chapter 5 that the lost would also be resurrected.
“Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”
This is the resurrection of damnation. The lost from all ages. Those who have never embraced God’s saving Grace. And here they come.
“…small and great (kings and emperors, and the greatest of the great. But also the smallest of the small), stand before God (so many times the term `God’ is used right in conjunction with Christ and here is a good example. It’s God, but it’s also Christ who is the Judge here at the Great White Throne); and the books (plural) were opened: and another book (singular)was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according their works.”
If they have any argument whether their name is in the Book of Life, Christ will show them where their name should have been but it’s not there. Remember Jesus said in His earthly ministry that they are going to come before him some day and will say, “But Lord didn’t we do this and that in your name.” And what will He tell them? “Depart from Me I never knew you.” And what’s going to be His proof? The Book! And their name is not in the Lamb’s Book of life. Then Christ goes to the books (plural) and will judge their works. A record is kept of the works of men, both lost and saved. But here we are dealing only with the lost. And God hasn’t had any trouble keeping track of people and what they do and for what motive they do it. We will pick this topic up again in the next lesson. Remember the Great White Throne is only for the lost.