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Chapter 27. Completing the Restoration

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The big picture

In the chart of the four phases of salvation, we saw how the various features of the earthly sanctuary symbolize the redemptive phases that we experience in our lives. The earthly sanctuary also symbolizes the plan of salvation as provided in the ministry of Jesus over the expanse of earth's history. We already touched on this in previous chapters, especially regarding the sealing time of the church, and we now shift from focusing on how Christ's ministry saves an individual life, to how He saves His church/bride in the timeline of earth's history. Great events are manifested in His church, corresponding to the actual time He performs a phase of His ministry in reality.

Figure 27.1 - Chart of the phases of Christ's ministry over earth's history
Earthly Sanctuary Individual Life Jesus' Ministry
Phase I - Calling Gentiles outside the gate are shown God's way. The sinner is shown what sin is and their need of a Savior. The Fall to 4 BC
Christ gives laws of sacrifices and ceremonies, which reveal the need of and point to the coming Savior.
Phase II - Conversion Lamb is sacrificed and priest washes in laver. Sinner accepts Christ's sacrifice and perfect life in his/her place, is pardoned and receives Christ's divine nature. 4 BC to 31 AD
Christ lives a perfect life, is sacrificed and resurrected, qualifying Him to justify His followers.
Phase III - Overcoming Blood is sprinkled, bread provided, incense burned, and lamps trimmed in Holy Place. The saved cooperate with the Holy Spirit to apply Christ's character to the life, through prayer, Bible study and church involvement. 31 AD to 1844 AD
Christ goes to heaven, is anointed as High Priest, exalted and honored. All things are put under Him and He works to sanctify His followers.
Phase IV - Authentication Blood is sprinkled in Most Holy Place and entire sanctuary is cleansed. Individuals are either blessed or cut off. The saved firmly endure, rejoice and cooperate as their character is tested and sealed. The record of their sins is blotted out. They receive new bodies at second coming. 1844 AD to New Earth
Christ investigates His people, testing and proving to the universe that He is righteous, just and able to save. He seals His people, gives out rewards and finally eradicates sin.

No matter when a person lived, in 2500 BC or 1750 AD, they are saved the same way. They respond to the working of the Holy Spirit, Christ's representative, which allows Christ to give them life, transform their character and deliver them. Christ died once on the cross for all sinners who have ever lived, but the benefit of this is determined during the life of each individual when they surrender to His workings. In the same way, the Holy Spirit was given at Pentecost, but believers throughout all time have benefitted from the working of the Holy Spirit in their lives (Numbers 11:25, 24:2, Judges 6:34, 1 Samuel 10:10, 2 Chronicles 24:20). Likewise, Jesus started ministering in the Most Holy Place in 1844, but His work there to investigate and test people is experienced during the lives of individuals throughout all time. He performs a well laid out plan, doing things once and for all, in order, and accomplishing His purposes fairly and completely for all people. As the reality of His ministry is accomplished, the results are seen in His church on earth.

As we look at this grand panorama of time, we see that the time we live in is very close to the end of earth's history. Jesus has accomplished much! Let's look at phase four in more detail, not from the perspective of an individual life, but now from the larger scope of prophecy and how Jesus' ministry unfolds in real-time and affects the entire world and specifically His church.

"When the books of Daniel and Revelation are better understood, believers will have an entirely different religious experience. They will be given such glimpses of the open gates of heaven that heart and mind will be impressed with the character that all must develop in order to realize the blessedness which is to be the reward of the pure in heart... One thing will certainly be understood from the study of Revelation--that the connection between God and His people is close and decided" (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 114.3-5).

Phase four can generally be divided into three parts; the judgment and vindication of the righteous, the judgment and punishment of the wicked and the restoration of the earth. Let's look at some of the many events that happen during this phase.

Part 1: Judgment/Vindication of the righteous

It is currently in process

"And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed" (Dan. 8:14).

The Hebrew word for "cleansed" in Daniel 8:14 is "tsadaq" and is associated with concepts such as judgment, vindication, cleansing, and salvation. It indicates a restoration of the order established by God through a work of cleansing and judgment. The earthly sanctuary was patterned after the true tabernacle, the heavenly sanctuary (Heb. 8:1-2). The end-of-the-year process (called the Day of Atonement) in the earthly sanctuary of finally removing sins from the sanctuary that were previously forgiven throughout the year, is also what happens in the heavenly sanctuary. The sins of those who have accepted Christ and been forgiven throughout all time are finally forever blotted out at the end of this earth's history. The righteous princples of God and His people who follow them, who are often condemned by men, are vindicated by God. With His continual atonement, Christ has been bearing the sins of His people. But, during the heavenly Day of Atonement, sin is removed from the record for those who have been pardoned, and God is revealed to be totally unrelated to sin and He is vindicated. This is a time of investigation and judgment,

"...the judgment was set, and the books were opened" (Dan. 7:10).

"Christ's work was to restore man to his original state, to heal him, through divine power, from the wounds and bruises made by sin. Man's part is to lay hold by faith of the merits of Christ, and co-operate with the divine agencies in forming a righteous character; so that God may save the sinner, and yet be just and His righteous law vindicated" (Fundamentals of Christian Education 430.2).

This time period marks the beginning of the process of eliminating sin in the universe. The date of 1844 as a prophetic fulfillment of the Day of Atonement is calculated based on prophecies in Daniel 8 and 9. The angel that returned to explain the vision of the 2300 days (prophetically 2300 years), told Daniel that they start with the decree to restore and build Jerusalem. When the 2300 years are added to the starting date of 457 BC (the comprehensive decree to restore and build Jerusalem), we arrive at the date of October 22, 1844, which is the tenth day of the seventh month according to the Jewish calendar (as kept by the orthodox Karaite Jews).

Additional Bible prophecies provide many references to this time period of judgment, allowing us to further identify its position in time and the type of events that take place. For example, in the prophecy of the four beasts of Daniel 7, a court scene is depicted. This prophecy parallels the prophecy in Daniel 2 regarding the world empires that would reign from Daniel's day until the end of time (Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, Divided Rome, Christ's Kingdom). It reveals more detail about the empires, focusing especially on a horn on the fourth beast (Roman Empire), which is explained as a very unique power that is pompous and prevails against the saints. The many characteristics of this horn identify it as Papal Rome. The horn persecutes the saints for 1260 years (Dan. 7:25) (538-1798 AD), after which a court scene is introduced that brings an end to the horn's power and enables the saints to posses the kingdom. The court scene brings to mind a time where evidence is submitted, facts are reviewed and decisions are made. It makes sense that God would allow a fair examination and investigation of all records in the books of heaven by the onlooking universe before giving out final and eternal rewards and punishments.

"I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened" (Daniel 7:9-10).

The following charts compare several of the prophecies in Daniel. Look at the time period on the right side of each prophecy that refers to a time of judgment. They each refer to a special event near the end of the reign of earthly kingdoms that is preparatory and required prior to the destruction of the enemy and the establishment of Christ's eternal kingdom.

Chart of Daniel 2 - Nebuchadnezzar's Image

Chart of Daniel 7 - The Four Beasts

Chart of Daniel 8 - The 2300 Days

Chart of Daniel 11 - Michael the Prince

Additional texts also reference this same event:
  • It was still future at the time of the apostles.

    "Because he hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world" (Acts 17:31).

  • It starts with the righteous.

    "Judgment must begin at the house of God; and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel?" (1 Pet. 4:17).

    This text makes it plain that the judgment of the righteous occurs before the judgment of the wicked. Other texts, which will be explored later, make it clear that judgment not only begins with the righteous, but the judgment of the righteous and the judgment of the wicked are separate and distinct events.

  • It occurs before the second coming.

    "And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be" (Rev. 22:12).

    It makes sense that judgment would have to happen before Christ returns because when Christ returns to earth the second time, rewards are with Him. He has already investigated and determined who has accepted the gift of salvation and who has rejected Him.

    In the earthly sanctuary service on the day of atonement, the high priest would finish his work in the Most Holy Place and then come out and bless the congregation. So too, Christ, when he finishes his investigating, judging, mediatorial and cleansing work in the heavenly sanctuary, will come out and bless His waiting people.

It is only for those who have been justified

"But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people" (Heb. 9:7).

In the earthly sanctuary service, only those who had come before God in repentance and whose sins had been transferred to the sanctuary via the blood of the sacrificial animal, had a part in the services on the Day of Atonement. Only on this day, the high priest went into the Most Holy Place of the sanctuary, and he never went in without blood. In the same way, only those who have put their faith in Christ's sacrifice and repented will be part of Christ's ministration in the Most Holy Place on the heavenly Day of Atonement. This is a time of investigation and cleansing that takes place before Christ returns to earth. Only those who have accepted Christ's invitation, as in the parable of king's son marriage (Matt. 22:1-14), and professed faith in Christ will be examined to see if they are wearing Christ's robe of righteousness.

"And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment" (Matthew 22:11).

"By the king's examination of the guests at the feast is represented a work of judgment. The guests at the gospel feast are those who profess to serve God, those whose names are written in the book of life. But not all who profess to be Christians are true disciples. Before the final reward is given, it must be decided who are fitted to share the inheritance of the righteous. This decision must be made prior to the second coming of Christ in the clouds of heaven; for when He comes, His reward is with Him, 'to give every man according as his work shall be.' Rev. 22:12. Before His coming, then, the character of every man's work will have been determined, and to every one of Christ's followers the reward will have been apportioned according to his deeds. It is while men are still dwelling upon the earth that the work of investigative judgment takes place in the courts of heaven. The lives of all His professed followers pass in review before God. All are examined according to the record of the books of heaven, and according to his deeds the destiny of each is forever fixed. By the wedding garment in the parable is represented the pure, spotless character which Christ's true followers will possess. To the church it is given 'that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white,' 'not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.' Rev. 19:8; Eph. 5:27. The fine linen, says the Scripture, 'is the righteousness of saints.' Rev. 19:8. It is the righteousness of Christ, His own unblemished character, that through faith is imparted to all who receive Him as their personal Saviour" (Christ's Object Lessons 310.1-3).

The "Book of Life" contains the names of all who have ever entered into the service of God. It is this book that determines who is judged and for whom Christ advocates during this time.

"He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels" (Rev. 3:5) (see also Phil. 4:3, Luke 10:20, Rev. 20:12, 21:27).

Definition:
Being Judged (for those claiming to be Christians): The investigation of your character, in the courts of heaven, through real-world tests that reveal if you are loyal to God by having put on Christ's character (also called the "Investigative Judgment" or "Pre-Advent Judgment".)

It involves an investigation / testing

When you cooperate with Jesus to transform your character, you have to nothing to fear when you are tested, because you have already been changed. The parable of the Bridegroom illustrates this concept very well.

"Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh" (Matthew 25:1-13).

"Let none follow the example of the foolish virgins and think that it will be safe to wait until the crisis comes before gaining a preparation of character to stand in that time. It will be too late to seek for the righteousness of Christ when the guests are called in and examined. Now is the time to put on the righteousness of Christ --the wedding garment that will fit you to enter into the marriage supper of the Lamb. In the parable, the foolish virgins are represented as begging for oil and failing to receive it at their request. This is symbolic of those who have not prepared themselves by developing a character to stand in a time of crisis. It is as if they should go to their neighbors and say, Give me your character or I shall be lost. Those that were wise could not impart their oil to the flickering lamps of the foolish virgins. Character is not transferable. It is not to be bought or sold; it is to be acquired. The Lord has given to every individual an opportunity to obtain a righteous character . . ., but He has not provided a way by which one human agent may impart to another the character which he has developed. The day is coming, and it is close upon us, when every phase of character will be revealed by special temptation. Those who remain true to principle, who exercise faith to the end, will be those who have proved true under test and trial during the previous hours of their probation, and have formed characters after the likeness of Christ. It will be those who have cultivated close acquaintance with Christ who, through His wisdom and grace, are partakers of the divine nature. But no human being can give to another, heart devotion and noble qualities of mind, and supply his deficiencies with moral power. Let no one put off the day of preparation, lest the call be made, 'Go forth to meet the bridegroom,' and you be found as were the foolish virgins, with no oil in your vessels with your lamps" (That I May Know Him 350.2-4).

It results in some, who had been justified, being lost

"And ye shall have on the tenth day of this seventh month an holy convocation; and ye shall afflict your souls" (Num. 29:7). "For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people" (Lev. 23:29).

The day of atonement was a solemn day of judgment for the Israelites. Those who did not afflict [look down, humble, weaken, answer, chasten self] his/her soul that day would be cut off (Lev. 16:29, 23:27-29).

We've discussed throughout this book how you must continue to exercise faith and continue to obey, after you accept Christ. You cannot take Christ's gift of justification and then stop allowing Him to complete His work in you, and expect to continue to receive His justification. If so, an investigation into your true thoughts and actions will reveal that you repeatedly and determinedly turned away from Christ since first accepting Him.

"When the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity,...all his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned" (Eze. 18:24).

"And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen" (Matthew 22:11-14).

It results in sins being blotted out of the Record Books

This was the only day of the year that the high priest would enter into the Most Holy compartment of the Sanctuary (note: throughout the rest of the year, he would minister daily in the Holy compartment). On the Day of Atonement, he would first make atonement through sprinkling of blood for himself and for his household. Then, he would not only make atonement for the people, but also for the sanctuary itself. This was necessary because throughout the year, confessed sins were transferred symbolically to the sanctuary. Now, full atonement would be made and the sins removed completely. In the heavenly day of atonement, the record of the sins of the righteous are removed completely.

"Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began" (Acts 3:19-21).

Christ, as our advocate, achieves everything for those who have truly repented of sin, claimed His blood as their atoning sacrifice and become partakers of His righteousness. He earns their pardon in the heavenly court and their name is not blotted out of the book of life.

"He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment, and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels" (Rev. 3:5, see also Matt. 10:32, 33).

However, their sins are blotted out of the record books. He also blots out the sins of the righteous from His own remembrance, choosing not to think of them again.

"I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins" (Is. 43:25, see also Psalm 51:1,9, Jer. 18:23).

"As in the final atonement the sins of the truly penitent are to be blotted from the records of heaven, no more to be remembered or come into mind, so in the type they were borne away into the wilderness, forever separated from the congregation" (Patriarchs and Prophets 358.1).

This process is part of the fulfillment of the new covenant promise, where God says,

"I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." "In those days, and in that time, saith the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found" (Jeremiah 31:34, 50:20).

Unlike the earthly sanctuary system, Christ's priestly work is able to thoroughly purge from sin. This means complete freedom; from guilt, from the penalty, from the record and from the remembrance of your sin. In the earth made new, your sin will never be thought of again.

"For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year...[but] by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified...And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin" (Heb. 10:1-14).

"Had not Jacob previously repented of his sin in obtaining the birthright by fraud, God could not have heard his prayer and mercifully preserved his life. So in the time of trouble, if the people of God had unconfessed sins to appear before them while tortured with fear and anguish, they would be overwhelmed; despair would cut off their faith, and they could not have confidence to plead with God for deliverance. But while they have a deep sense of their unworthiness, they will have no concealed wrongs to reveal. Their sins will have been blotted out by the atoning blood of Christ, and they cannot bring them to remembrance" (Conflict and Courage 69.2).

"They cannot bring to mind any particular sins, but in their whole life they can see but little good. Their sins had gone beforehand to judgment, and pardon had been written. Their sins had been borne away into the land of forgetfulness, and they could not bring them to remembrance" (Spiritual Gifts Volume 3, 134.2).

This is a wonderful thing Jesus is doing for you! Equally marvelous is that all of your good deeds WILL be remembered and kept on the record books forever! Only the good things will be brought to mind throughout all eternity.

"Let all remember that . . . angels are recording in the book of remembrance every word that vindicates the character and mission of Christ. Of those who testify of the love of God, the Lord says, 'They shall be mine, . . . in that day when I make up my jewels.' Mal. 3:17" (Our High Calling 168.5).

"It were well for such ones to remember the record kept on high--that book in which there are no omissions, no mistakes, and out of which they will be judged. There every neglected opportunity to do service for God is recorded; and there, too, every deed of faith and love is held in everlasting remembrance" (Prophets and Kings 639.1).

Key:
All your bad deeds will be removed from the record books and never brought to mind again! All your good deeds will be kept in the record books and remembered forever!

It includes the latter rain

The Holy Spirit provides a gift to the church that refreshes and prepare them for the approaching "time of trouble".

"Before the work is closed up and the sealing of God's people is finished, we shall receive the outpouring of the Spirit of God. Angels from heaven will be in our midst" (Maranatha 212.1).

As the members of the body of Christ approach the period of their last conflict, 'the time of Jacob's trouble,' they will grow up into Christ, and will partake largely of His Spirit. As the third message swells to a loud cry, and as great power and glory attend the closing work, the faithful people of God will partake of that glory. It is the latter rain which revives and strengthens them to pass through the time of trouble. Their faces will shine with the glory of that light which attends the third angel" (RH May 27, 1862).

"The third angel's message is swelling into a loud cry, and you must not feel at liberty to neglect the present duty, and still entertain the idea that at some future time you will be the recipients of great blessing, when without any effort on your part a wonderful revival will take place. . . . Today you are to have your vessel purified, that it may be ready for the heavenly dew, ready for the showers of the latter rain; for the latter rain will come, and the blessing of God will fill every soul that is purified from every defilement. It is our work today to yield our souls to Christ, that we may be fitted for the time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord--fitted for the baptism of the Holy Spirit" (Evangelism 701.4).

It includes the completion of the sealing process

"And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God their foreheads" (Rev. 7:2-3).

God holds back the destructive forces of men and evil angels until those who are to be sealed have fully submitted to the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit and proven the loyalty and steadfastness of their characters.

"If we would become like Christ and receive His fashion of character, we must in little things train the soul to daily progressive sanctification. We have no time to lose. Would you impress the seal to obtain a clear impression upon the wax, you do not dash it on by a violent action, but you place the seal carefully and firmly and press it down until the wax receives the mold. Just so the Lord is dealing with our souls. . . . Not now and then, but constantly the new life is implanted by the Holy Spirit after Christ's likeness" (In Heavenly Places 66.4).

The sealing process is the work of the Holy Spirit to settle you into the truth about Christ, His law and kingdom, which transforms your character to be like Christ's.

"And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption" (Ephes. 4:30) (see also 2 Cor. 1:22, Eph. 1:13).

Those who are sealed have overcome sin, perfected characters and are settled into the truth, so they will not be moved. Once the sealing process is finished, Christ can move on to the final closing work in the Sanctuary.

"'He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.' Proverbs 28:13. If those who hide and excuse their faults could see how Satan exults over them, how he taunts Christ and holy angels with their course, they would make haste to confess their sins and to put them away. Through defects in the character, Satan works to gain control of the whole mind, and he knows that if these defects are cherished, he will succeed. Therefore he is constantly seeking to deceive the followers of Christ with his fatal sophistry that it is impossible for them to overcome. But Jesus pleads in their behalf His wounded hands, His bruised body; and He declares to all who would follow Him: 'My grace is sufficient for thee.' 2 Corinthians 12:9. 'Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.' Matthew 11:29, 30. Let none, then, regard their defects as incurable. God will give faith and grace to overcome them. We are now living in the great day of atonement. In the typical service, while the high priest was making the atonement for Israel, all were required to afflict their souls by repentance of sin and humiliation before the Lord, lest they be cut off from among the people. In like manner, all who would have their names retained in the book of life should now, in the few remaining days of their probation, afflict their souls before God by sorrow for sin and true repentance. There must be deep, faithful searching of heart" (The Great Controversy 489.2-3).

It ends when probation closes for all humanity

"He that is unjust, let him be unjuust 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 work shall be" (Rev. 22:11-12).

Once Christ ceases His ministration in the heavenly sanctuary, there is no more offering for sin, so there is no more chance to repent. Every fate has been decided. Those who are alive when Christ ends His mediation, will have come through the judgment process wearing Christ's robe of righteousness and are sealed. But, those who have not used their probationary time to seek and follow truth will be left guilty and unprotected.

"The Lord God of heaven will not send upon the world His judgments for disobedience and transgression until He has sent His watchmen to give the warning. He will not close up the period of probation until the message shall be more distinctly proclaimed. The law of God is to be magnified; its claims must be presented in their true, sacred character, that the people may be brought to decide for or against the truth. Yet the work will be cut short in righteousness. The message of Christ's righteousness is to sound from one end of the earth to the other to prepare the way of the Lord. This is the glory of God, which closes the work of the third angel" (Testimonies for the Church Volume Six 19.1).

When it ends, events happen in rapid succession

  • Seven last plagues occur

    Revelation prophecies point to a time when the righteous cannot buy or sell, false worship is forced upon everyone, and a death penalty is finally pronounced against the righteous. Sometime prior to the enforcement of this death penalty, the seven last plagues begin to fall upon the wicked. This is also referred to as the wrath of God and the time of trouble, during which horrible plagues occur upon the earth (Rev. 16).

    "Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete" (Revelation 15:1).

    "And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book" (Dan. 12:1).

    The righteous are delivered and not afflicted by the plagues, though they do suffer. It is during the 7th plague, that Christ returns to earth and takes His people back to heaven with Him.

    "Only with your eyes shall you look, And see the reward of the wicked. Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling" (Psalms 91:8-10).

    "Alas! For that day is great, So that none is like it; And it is the time of Jacob's trouble, But he shall be saved out of it" (Jeremiah 30:7).

  • Righteous dead are raised

    "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord" (1 Thes. 4:16-17).

    "For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me" (Job 19:25-27).

    When Christ returns to earth during the 7th plague, the righteous are raised to life. This is also referred to as the first resurrection.

  • Incorruptible body awarded to righteous

    "Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality" (I Cor. 15:51-53).

    "Our personal identity is preserved in the resurrection, though not the same particles of matter or material substance as went into the grave. The wondrous works of God are a mystery to man. The spirit, the character of man, is returned to God, there to be preserved. In the resurrection every man will have his own character. God in His own time will call forth the dead, giving again the breath of life, and bidding the dry bones live. The same form will come forth, but it will be free from disease and every defect. It lives again bearing the same individuality of features, so that friend will recognize friend. There is no law of God in nature which shows that God gives back the same identical particles of matter which composed the body before death. God shall give the righteous dead a body that will please Him. Paul illustrates this subject by the kernel of grain sown in the field. The planted kernel decays, but there comes forth a new kernel. The natural substance in the grain that decays is never raised as before, but God giveth it a body as it hath pleased Him. A much finer material will compose the human body, for it is a new creation, a new birth. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. He [the believer] may die, as Christ died, but the life of the Saviour is in him. His life is hid with Christ in God. "I am come that they might have life," Jesus said, "and that they might have it more abundantly." He carries on the great process by which believers are made one with Him in this present life, to be one with Him throughout all eternity. . . . At the last day He will raise them as a part of Himself. . . . Christ became one with us in order that we might become one with Him in divinity" (Maranatha 301.1-4).

  • A select group of the wicked dead are raised

    "And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt" (Dan. 12:2). "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen" (Rev. 1:7) (see also Matt. 26:64).

    Not all of the wicked are raised at this time. There are two separate and distinct resurrections in the Bible, one for the righteous and one for the wicked (Rev. 20:5-6, John 5:29). But, here there is a select group of wicked, apparently raised just so they can see Christ, whom they crucified, coming as King.

  • Second Coming of Christ

    "And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh" (Luke 21:25-28).

Part 2: Judgment and punishment of the wicked

Now our focus shifts to the wicked, their judgment and the results of their rebellion.

Wicked living are slain

As Christ removes His redeemed from the earth at His second coming, the wicked living are destroyed.

"And the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground" (Jer. 25:33).

Satan Bound:

Next, a period of time begins, lasting 1000 years (millenium), which pertains to the judgement of the wicked. Note that at this point, there are no humans left alive on the earth. All of the wicked who were alive for Christ's return have been slain (Rev. 19:21).

When the ministration in the most holy place of the earthly sanctuary had been completed on the day of atonement, and the sins of Israel had been removed from the sanctuary, the high priest went out and the scape-goat was presented alive before the Lord. Then he would confess over it all the sins of the people, putting them on the head of the goat.

"And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness" (Lev. 16:21-22.

"In like manner, when the work of atonement in the heavenly sanctuary has been completed, then in the presence of God and heavenly angels, and the host of the redeemed, the sins of God's people will be placed upon Satan; he will be declared guilty of all the evil which he has caused them to commit. And as the scape-goat was sent away into a land not inhabited, so Satan will be banished to the desolate earth, an uninhabited and dreary wilderness" (The Great Controversy 658.1).

In the same way, the sins of God's people are placed upon Satan. Note that Satan does not provide an atonement for sin by having sins placed on him (there is no blood). This is rather symbolic of the responsibility for causing sin being placed upon Satan. Satan accuses God of mismanagement, unfairness, and causing all kinds of pain and disasters. However, during the judgement of the righteous that occurred before the millenium begins, God is declared good and just before the universe. All accusations that God is responsible for sin are vanquished. The true instigator of sin is revealed plainly for all to see, and he can no longer conceal his guilt.

"In the atonement the character of God is revealed. The mighty argument of the cross demonstrates to the whole universe that the course of sin which Lucifer had chosen was in no wise chargeable upon the government of God... Now the guilt of Satan stood forth without excuse. He had revealed his true character as a liar and a murderer. It was seen that the very same spirit with which he ruled the children of men, who were under his power, he would have manifested had he been permitted to control the inhabitants of heaven. He had claimed that the transgression of God's law would bring liberty and exaltation; but it was seen to result in bondage and degradation... In the final execution of the judgment it will be seen that no cause for sin exists. When the Judge of all the earth shall demand of Satan, "Why hast thou rebelled against Me, and robbed Me of the subjects of My kingdom?" the originator of evil can render no excuse. Every mouth will be stopped, and all the hosts of rebellion will be speechless" (The Great Controversy 500.4-503.2).

Revelation foretells of the banishment of Satan, as symbolized by the scape-goat, and the condition of chaos and desolation of the earth after the second coming.

"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 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 thousnad years should be fulfilled; and after that he must be loosed a little season" (Rev. 20:1-3).

The phrase "bottomless pit" represents the earth in a state of immeasurable desolation and darkness (more about the "bottomless pit"). Jeremiah also prophecied about the day of the Lord, saying:

"I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down" (Jer. 4:23-27).

"That the expression "bottomless pit" represents the earth in a state of confusion and darkness is evident from other scriptures. Concerning the condition of the earth "in the beginning," the Bible record says that it "was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep." Genesis 1:2. Prophecy teaches that it will be brought back, partially at least, to this condition. Looking forward to the great day of God, the prophet Jeremiah declares: "I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down." Jeremiah 4:23-26. Here is to be the home of Satan with his evil angels for a thousand years. Limited to the earth, he will not have access to other worlds to tempt and annoy those who have never fallen. It is in this sense that he is bound: there are none remaining, upon whom he can exercise his power. He is wholly cut off from the work of deception and ruin which for so many centuries has been his sole delight. {Mar 307.2-3}

Satan and his evil angels will be banished to the desolate, uninhabited earth for a thousand years. He is chained, or bound, to this earth, and by his circumstances of having no one to tempt and nowhere to exercise his power. This must be a severe punishment for him. He will have a long time to think about the error of his ways.

Judgment of the wicked

Between the first resurrection (of the righteous) and second resurrection (of the wicked) there are a thousand years, during which the righteous judge the wicked. This is a time to examine the facts, compare acts and laws, and verify for yourself, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that God is right in all His dealings. That the righteous will judge, and that they will do it after the second coming, is pointed out throughout scripture:

"Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come..." (I Cor. 4:5).

"And 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).

"Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life" (I Cor. 6:2-3)?

"And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day" (Jude 1:6).

Amazingly, the righteous will judge not only humans, but the evil angels as well. At the end of the one thousand years, all will be satisfied that the best course of action is exactly what God has been doing and will do to complete the eradication of evil.

Definition:
Being Judged (for those who rejected Christ): The investigation into the record of your life by the saved saints to confirm that Christ is fair and just in not delivering you. (Also called the "Millennial Judgment".)

Wicked raised (2nd resurrection)

At the end of the one thousand years, all of the wicked are raised to life. This is what is referred to as the second resurrection. They will then be faced with the execution of the judgments written against them.

"And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall punish the host of the high ones that are 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 shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited" (Is. 24:21-22).

The fact that people are again alive on the earth, looses Satan from his chains. He is no longer in a land uninhabited, but can now practice his deceit once again. He gathers the vast multitudes together for the largest battle of history.

"And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city" (Rev. 20:7-9).

Eradication of Evil

Jerusalem has descended from heaven and the righteous are safe within, as the wicked hosts assemble around in an attempt to take it over. At that time, everyone who has ever lived on this earth, wicked and righteous, will be assembled before God. It is then that the truth of God's justice and Satan's evil, will be made clear to all.

Satan and the wicked's last desperate attempt to overthrow God is futile. They all recognize that God is just and right. However, even though they admit they are wrong, they are not sorry for their sins, but are only sorry that they cannot continue in them. All evil will be destroyed.

"Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee...therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more" (Ez. 28:17).

"...and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever" (Rev. 20:9-10).

"For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the lord of hosts" (Mal. 4:1-2).

This fire that destroys the wicked at the end of time is referred to as the Lake of Fire in Revelation. This is also what many refer to as hell. However, it is not a place of eternal burning and torment of the wicked, but rather a one-time final destruction of the wicked by fire. The results of the destruction/punishment are forever, not the act of punishing. The Lake of Fire is what causes something to cease to exist, and that is why it is eternal. The Bible is clear that the wicked, sin, sinners, death and hell itself will be burned up and completely destroyed. Nothing bad can remain in a perfect universe.

"For the day of the Lord is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head. For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been" (Obadiah 1:15).

"And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire" (Rev. 20:14-15).

Note that by casting death and hell into the lake of fire, the very act of destruction and death will also cease to exist.

"Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power" (2 Thes. 1:10).

The opposite of eternal life (the reward of the righteous) is not eternal punishment, but rather eternal death (the punishment of the wicked).

Note: The word "hell" used to mean "hidden, hollow or covering." Most places in the Bible that use the word hell, simply refer to the grave. The places it means a "place of burning" is when it is translated from the word "Gehenna" in the New Testament, referring to the final destruction of the wicked. If you have a NIV Bible, you will notice that "Sheol" in the Old Testament is never translated to the word hell like in the KJV, but rather is consistently translated to the word "Grave."

Note: The word judgment in the Bible can refer to different elements of the judicial process, including the investigative phase, the pronouncement of the verdict or the execution of the penalty or reward.

The chart below shows the timeline for the two judgments.

Chart showing the judgment of the righteous and then judgment of the wicked

Part 3: Restoration of the Earth

Dominion restored

By this time, Christ has already restored your character back into His likeness before probation closed. (Note that you will still grow in wisdom and knowledge throughout eternity, but your loyalty to God, love of the truth, pure motives and loving disposition has been proven.) Also, the restoration of your physical body and own higher nature was accomplished when Christ returned to earth at His second coming. But it isn't only you and your fellow humans that need restoring. Now, the earth and your surroundings will be restored to their pre-fall beauty and perfection.

"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away" (Rev. 21:1).

This beautiful, perfect, new earth will be given to you. All of God's people, with Christ as their leader, will rule the new earth. It is their inheritance, a restored dominion.

"And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him" (Daniel 7:27).

"Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth" (Matthew 5:5).

"Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?" (James 2:5)

"The fire that consumes the wicked purifies the earth. Every trace of the curse is swept away. No eternally burning hell will keep before the ransomed the fearful consequences of sin. One reminder alone remains: our Redeemer will ever bear the marks of his crucifixion. Upon his wounded head, upon his side, his hands and feet, are the only traces of the cruel work that sin has wrought. Says the prophet, beholding Christ in his glory, 'He had bright beams coming out of his side; and there was the hiding of his power.' [Hab. 3:4] That pierced side whence flowed the crimson stream that reconciled man to God, -- there is the Saviour's glory, there 'the hiding of his power.' 'Mighty to save,' through the sacrifice of redemption, he was therefore strong to execute justice upon them that despised God's mercy. And the tokens of his humiliation are his highest honor; through the eternal ages the wounds of Calvary will show forth his praise, and declare his power. 'O Tower of the flock, the stronghold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion.' [Micah 4:8, Eph. 1:14] The time has come, to which holy men have looked with longing since the flaming sword barred the first pair from Eden, -- the time for 'the redemption of the purchased possession.' The earth originallly given to man as his kingdom, betrayed by him into the hands of Satan, and so long held by the mighty foe, has been brought back by the great plan of redemption. All that was lost by sin has been restored. 'Thus saith the Lord... that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited.' [Isa. 45:18] God's original purpose in the creation of the earth is fulfilled as it is made the eternal abode of the redeemed. 'The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therin forever.' Ps. 37:29" (The Great Controversy 674.1).

Happiness restored

Once the cases of the wicked have been reviewed and the final eradication of evil accomplished, there will be no more tears. Nothing will ever interupt the joyful, peaceful earth again.

"And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; 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" (Rev. 21:3-4).

"I saw no temple therein; for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it" (Rev. 22:5).

"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face" (1 Cor. 13:12).

The plan of salvation is complete. There is no longer the need for mediation or a sanctuary. All that separated humans from their creator has been removed. The redeemed will speak to the Father and the Son face to face.

Definition:
Restoration: Being returned, by God, to the pure and defectless state in which He originally created you, spiritually, mentally, and physically, so that you may have face-to-face communion with God, dominion of the earth and eternal happiness.

All is now restored to its proper state, and you will share in Christ's glory for eternity. The transformation of your character into a new creature and restoration of your entire being is complete. You have joined humanity in revolving a full 360 degrees to come back into full communion with their creator. A relationship with your God, who unceasingly showers you with His transcendent love, will eternally warm your soul.

The 360 Degree Revolution of Humanity

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