The Last Great Millennium
Sabbath Day Sermon: Saturday 28 February 2004
"When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth - Gog and Magog - to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city He loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever" (Rev.20:7-10, NIV).
The time-frame: a little over a thousand years from now. The capital of the earth is located in Jerusalem, the biblical Promised Land. It is the most magnificent city the world has ever seen. The earth is a unified planet under an Emperor. The Name of the Emperor is Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), the most benevolent ruler this earth has ever known. He rules over countless nations headed by kings of His appointment, and each province is ruled in its turn by princes. There have been a thousand years of peace and prosperity. No war has been fought for ten centuries. In the words of the late British Prime Minister, Harold MacMillan, it could be said of the inhabitants of this blessed world that they "never had it so good". A thousand years of continued peace and justice. A happier people could not be known. The memory of the centuries of strife before were long distant. People no longer knew how to make war or to oppress because there is no disposition to try and better the system that Yahweh personally has set up.
And then, at the end of this millennium of paradisiacal conditions, the incredible - even the impossible - happens. The world descends into the kind of total universal darkness and evil that characterised it before the Messiah returned to bring peace, justice and prosperity to the human race. How could this be? How could man not have learned the lessons of six millennia of bloodshed and evil with one thousand years to reflect on what had happened?
Today I want to ask some of the most difficult and sobering questions that perhaps I have asked to date. The Bible says even less about the Seventh Millennium than it does about the First as found in the first part of Genesis.
It has to be remembered that two of the keys to world peace during the Seventh Millennium - the one we are all so anxious waiting for - are connected with force. We rather fancy ourselves (unless you have by now, I hoped, popped the illusion) as good democrats and that democracy is the best possible political system for man.
But the Millennium is not a democracy, is it? It is ruled by an Absolute Dictator and by Kings and Princes acting under His mandate. The success of the Seventh Millennium lies in its benign dictatorship and the rule of perfect law. This dictator not only loves people but alone knows what is best for them. But to give human beings the maximum free agency He has to use force and restraint. Firstly, He is forced to restrain Satan and the demonic hosts - they are imprisoned during the Seventh Millennium. And secondly, He has to force people to obey Torah - the Law is Absolute and cannot be bettered. It is tailor made for mankind. No new laws are required. Where there is conflict, they are resolved by Judges - not Juries - Judges filled with the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit). Remove these two pillars of benevolent force and what results? Total and utter anarchy - brutal and devilish lawlessness - murder, rape, torture and mass horror.
So what VITAL lesson do we learn about mankind from the events of the end of the Seventh Millennium? And why is it necessary for us to go through this horror YET AGAIN? We haven't even gone through the Great Tribulation of the Sixth Millennium yet and for most that is more than enough to think about. However, I think by looking a thousand years ahead we can usefully resolve some issues that fickle man seems hell bent on skirting, and that is the question of the Divine Rule of Law. So what kinds of doubts is Satan going to throw into men's heads to persuade them to abandon the most glorious epoch of human history and once again descend into total and utter depravity?
For one thing, it must surely be obvious that Seventh Millennium Man will not necessarily be perfect. And if angels were capable of being deceived and rebelling in vast numbers before the advent of man, then why should not Millennial Man be capable of the same? Is it not reasonable to suppose that Millennial Man will be shown the glories and wonders of the Cosmos which he never knew in the dark ages of the first six millennia? Is it not reasonable to suppose that great technology will be available to him, even if it is of a completely different, ecologically-friendly kind to that of the latter part of the Sixth Millennium? I may be wrong here but I am inclined to believe that we will not just be returning to a primitive rural society, even though this may be the choice of many, who will do just that, and be blessed. The New Jerusalem, which will descend out of heaven at the end of the Sixth Millennium and rest where the old historic Jerusalem is located today, is not your average man-made city or megalopolis. It is enormous and it is of supernatural construction. It is this structure that the vast armies of Satan surround before they are utterly consumed from heaven by fire, just as Ezekiel's offering was on Mt.Carmel. This is a city made by Yahweh Himself.
We are told in the scriptures that after this last ravaging at the end of the Millennium, Satan is thrown into the Lake of Fire for ever, never to be released again. One thing this teaches us is that mankind will never be mature or holy enough to rule by himself - alone. He is quite simply incapable of not being deceived and incapable of being a ruler in his own right. And the kind of beings Lucifer and his angels turned into, together with the people they fooled, is the evidence of this for all living creatures to see. Even given a Perfect Law - a perfect Torah - he is still incapable of ruling justly. Mankind as a whole simply cannot govern himself, or by himself.
The truth that needs to be learned - and it would be better to learn it now rather than later when escaping to safety will no longer be an option - is that only a small number of men will ever qualify to be semi-independent rulers. The rest need the strong arm of the law looking over their shoulders to make sure they don't slip into rebellious ways. These men whom Yahweh trusts with rulership are numbered as 144,000, together, we suppose, with their wives, and all of them will come from the twelve tribes of Israel, 12,000 from each tribe. There are no rulers outside this fellowship. Of these the scriptures tell us:
"Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had His name and His Father's name written on their foreheads. And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever He goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless" (Rev.14:1-5, NIV).
This passage has baffled Christians throughout the centuries. It has left the uninspired to conclude that women are somehow 'dirty' and that the ideal sexual state is celibacy, even if this contradicts almost everything else on the subject in the Bible. It is more helpful to read the Hebraic original of this passage to understand the figurative sense of what is being said. Thus it should read:
"They are those who were not defiled with women, for they are maidens" (v.4a, HRSV).
Does this means that they are women, since they are 'maidens'? Obviously not, as lesbianism is not the only category of sexual sin. The Greek uses 'virgins' which, whilst we commonly think of females when using it, in our modern vocabulary to be a virgin can mean chastity for both women and men. The importance here is the contrast between 'women' and 'maidens' - the one impure, and the other, pure. Both are metaphors only. Thus what characterizes the 144,000 is that they are sexually pure, true to theirs spouses and to Yahweh's Laws governing sexual activity within marriage.
What is their other qualifying quality? There is no falsehood in them - no lies, no deceit, no untruth. These men have been completely purged of all that is not true. They are overcomers in the fullest sense of the world. They have gone the whole way until they are, spiritually-speaking, as white as snow. The evidence of this is that they follow Yah'shua (Jesus) wherever He goes. They are completely obedient, chaste, holy and pure.
Though we don't know, one would like to believe that their number is added to during the Seventh Millennium. Some believe that 144,000 is only a symbolic number, which is possible, though I personally tend to believe it is literal, given other symbolism about the Tribes in the Book of Revelation. At any rate, at the beginning of the Seventh Millennium, they - and they alone - qualify as earth's absolute rulers under Yah'shua (Jesus) during the thousand years of peace. Their dominions, one supposes, are around the entire planet in the many tribes and nations, though their home base is Jerusalem.
All the others - those who have not completed the overcoming process, who have only completed it to one degree or another, are vulnerable. The last Great Rebellion at the end of the Seventh Rebellion must be vast - we are not told the numbers or proportions or good and evil people, only that "they are like the sand on the seashore". This I can only interpret to mean millions, if not billions of souls. At the end of the Sixth Millennium we know that one third of mankind perish because of their wickedness, leaving the 144,000, the redeemed, and - one supposes - decent honourable people who refused to receive the Mark of the Beast and follow Satan. Among the survivors will be more than enough men and women who, without the future post-millennial rule of Law and the restraint on Satan and his demons, contain the potential seeds of carnality to be exploited in later generations. The Sixth Millennium is not, as many suppose, made up of 100% perfect and redeemed people. They are the cream and the milk, with the soured part scooped off. The potential for rebellion will always be there but without demons to tempt they will more than willingly obey the benign Dictator of Heaven - they will see that His rule is in their best interests.
We see from all of this that there is a part of man which is ever listening but never learning. We know from experience how history repeats itself, and the same mistakes of the previous generation are repeated by the next generation, and the next, and the next. And the reason this happens is because without the cleansing of a Redeemer, the sins of one generation simply accumulate and are passed on to the next. So why, if we detect them, cannot we deal with them ourselves? What is so flawed with our memory that we cannot recall what our fathers told us about their mistakes?
The problem has many facets. For one thing, it is an issue of will. If we don't want to hear something, we won't. We have a choice that stems from genuine free agency. We are not so constructed that we are obliged automatically and reflexly to respond positively to the truth. Even once we have discerned, we have a choice to execute righteousness, execute evil, or sit on the fence and remain neutral and indifferent (which is much the same as choosing evil). So we have the power of choice - and it really is a power, awesome power.
Secondly, having broken a commandment - deliberately or accidentally - we give demons legal rights to occupy and abuse parts of our spiritual self and physical body. Is that fair? Well, without law the universe would not function but descend into a mass of chaos. You might as well ask whether gravity is fair or not. I can jump off a building or fall off it accidentally, but the result is much the same. Without gravity there would be chaos in the physical world and we would all float off into outer space and die from cold or a lack of air. A world without Law is no world at all - a lawless world cannot exist in any dimension, material or spiritual. When a soul obeys Torah he is protected against the demonic host, just as when an astronaut puts on a space suit before going into outer space. When he does not obey he loses that protection and demons seize their opportunity to plunder that soul, like an astronaut leaving off his space suit and stepping outside his spaceship. Those who remain in Torah give demons no legal grounds to cause trouble.
However - and this is critical - deciding after breaking Torah and getting demon problems, to start obeying Torah does not get rid of the demons! Even repenting and feeling genuine sorrow for your stupidity will not get rid of your problem. Yahweh has decreed only one way to resolve the problem - one way to gain pardon for sin, and one way to be quit of the demons, and that is to repent and receive Yah'shua (Jesus) as your Master and Saviour. You have to place yourself under the headship of Yahweh's own Son and appeal to His blood sacrifice for your sins. There is no other way.
Thus it is that sins pile up generation after generation like someone inheriting a bank debt after his father dies. Sin is connected to family lines because our responsibility is not only to ourselves as individuals but also to our next of kin. This truth continues to be recognised even in our secular inheritance laws, coming as they originally do from Torah.
Satan is anti-law with one side of his face but he is the most legalistic person in the universe with the other. He encourages men to break Yahweh's Law and then exacts every last drop of payment when they have done so. He claims to be the great bringer of freedom but puts all his dupes into a prison that none can escape from without a Messiah-Redeemer. How do you imagine, then, that Satan will once again dupe the vast bulk of mankind at the end of the Seventh Millennium? Is it not obvious? He will do what he has always done - lie - and he will lie convincingly by claiming that he has a better way than Yahweh. He will claim to bring mankind more freedom and claim that the Laws of Yahweh are not only restrictive but actually personally harmful to his liberty! He will tell mankind not to be satisfied with what Yahweh says is satisfactory but demand to own even that which Yahweh has - he will claim, as he has always done, that men can become independent gods in their own right! He will say that they can have more power, failing to inform them that man is not capable of wielding power unless he is pure in heart. Indeed, he will make no reference to purity and claim it is but a way to make men suffer and keep them in bondage. He will, as he always has done, offer them short cuts to wealth and power by appealing to their carnal sense of laziness. And in all of this he will not tell them of the consequences to their own well-being of rebelling. With each lie and act of disobedience, man will get progressively more demonised and blinded, unable to see the abyss he is headed towards. Does all this sound familiar to you?
Personally I have no problems understanding how Satan will manage to deceive millions of souls after a thousand years of peace and prosperity. Satan was the No.2 in heaven after Yah'shua (Jesus), the highest ranking angel - and archangel. He had enormous power. But he wanted more and he believed he could handle it. He couldn't, and the moment he rebelled, he was plunged into darkness - the power which he came to believe was naturally and independently 'his' was revealed to be Yahweh's. Thus from that moment on he could only obtain power by theft
from human beings persuaded to break Divine Law.
Every creature - every being in the cosmos that does not have self-existence is fallible and capable of falling. We have been taught by apostate Christianity that the soul is immortal and that it does not need God to live because He gave us complete independence. If He had done that He would never have been able to imprison Satan or even defeat Him. More importantly, only Elohim (God) Himself is immortal
by definition. Like a human man moving away from food (like home) must either earn it, beg it, or steal it, so any living being that tries to move away from Yahweh must do the same. When a created being like an angel-turned-demon moves out of the sphere of life which is Yahweh he must fine another source
and the only source is man and animals, because only they have life in the blood. Without man he would starve to death - in short, he would lose consciousness and at length become lifeless. Yahweh says:
"Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Ezek.18:4, KJV).
The inevitable consequence of sin is death on whatever plane of existence. Satan and the demons know deep down that, so they must lie and steal as much as they can to keep active. But like most liars they have no doubt come to believe in their own lies to a certain extent, and having been around for many millennia may well have started to believe that they are, to all intents and purposes, immortal.
Whatever the truth may be, one thing is clear: the demons, once released at the end of the Seventh Millennium, will get to work fast and humans who are not properly submitted in their wills to Yahweh except by restraint, and will once again rebel and sing the same old song of carnal lust.
The tendency of man today is no different to what he was in Eden or to the angels in heaven when it comes to will-power and disposition. Men and angels alike have the power of free choice - they can choose to live or they can choose to die. That remains your choice too. Will you repeat the errors of your ancestors and follow them into destruction, or will you make a choice for Truth and Goodness, trusting in the Almighty One to see you right? He is waiting patiently for you, hoping that you will choose salvation while it is yet light. For when the day of darkness comes it will be altogether too late. But you must do so as little children, not in your pride but in humility and recognition of your true condition and status before the Kingdom:
"Yah'shua (Jesus) said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven" (Mt.19:14, KJV).
If you come as a little child, trusting, He will by no means refuse you. Amen.
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Last updated on 3 February 2004
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