REMOVING SIN FROM THE CREATION
An excerpt from, What I Have Learned From the Lord, Copyright © 2012, by Robert B. Thompson. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
Sometimes people wonder about the purpose for the thousand-year Kingdom Age, commonly referred to as the “Millennium.” According to the Bible, there will be a thousand years (whether actual or symbolic) between the next appearing of the Lord Jesus and the final resurrection and judgment.
What is to take place during that time? Why should there a thousand-year interval after Jesus and the saints appear, and the coming down from Heaven through the new sky of the new Jerusalem to be installed on the new earth?
I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4)
The saints who attained to the first resurrection (passage above) were raised from the dead and governed with Christ for a thousand years. We assume they shall govern the people on the present earth, although it does not say whom they shall rule.
But there is another verse that does:
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth. (Revelation 5:10)
From Revelation 20:4 (above), we see that these kings and priests were victorious saints, having resisted the Antichrist, and had been martyred for their testimony.
I do not understand why this first resurrection is not preached more than it is, because it is well worth attaining to. It is my opinion that this is the resurrection the Apostle Paul was seeking.
The term “Millennium” often is used to depict a time of peace. The Bible does not wholly support this view. The thousand-year Kingdom Age is a rule with the rod of iron, because the people who are governed were accustomed to being their own god. Even after a thousand years of the rule of the saints, they were ready to rebel when Satan was let out of the Bottomless Pit.
What is the purpose for this thousand years? Christ and His Firstfruits are governing. Isaiah tells us about the knowledge of God filling the earth. Apparently the curse has been lifted. But why couldn’t we skip this period of time and go straight to the new earth and the new world of righteousness?
The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. (Revelation 11:8,9)
The passage above takes place during the Kingdom Age, before the final resurrection of the dead. To spiritualize a bit here, I think this means the waters of the Spirit of God will cover the dead sea of mankind.
The Jewish people have seven major celebrations. The sixth of these is termed the Day of Atonement. The idea of “atonement” is that of “reconciliation.”
During this celebration, atonement was made by the blood of a slain goat. Atonement was made also by removing from the camp of Israel and sending into the wilderness a living goat, after Aaron had confessed the sins of Israel over this goat.
He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the desert in the care of a man appointed for the task. The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a solitary place; and the man shall release it in the desert. (Leviticus 16:21,22)
The first goat reconciled Israel to God by the sacrificial blood. The second goat reconciled Israel to God by the removal of sins. For two thousand years the Christian churches have proclaimed the work of the first goat.
But forgiving sins does not accomplish God’s goal. God’s goal in the work of redemption is to remove all sin, and all who refuse to have their sins removed, from the creation.
I am not speaking of the removal of the guilt of sin, but the removal of the compulsion and practice of sin. Forgiving an individual is a blessing to that person, but it does not accomplish God’s goal of removing the practice of sin from His children.
It is my opinion that the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish Day of Atonement has commenced now, and that it will continue until the end of the thousand-year period and is the reason for that period.
The Lord Jesus Christ has made an atonement for the sins of the whole world, referring to forgiveness, the removal of guilt. The removal of the guilt of sin is an accomplished fact, and everyone is free to accept it.
Now we have come to the time when God is ready to remove the practice of sin. The authority for this removal is the blood that was shed on Calvary. The shed blood of Christ is the legal basis for the removal of sin. But the removal of the sin itself must be accomplished by the power of the Spirit of God.
First the authority of the blood. Then the power of the Spirit of God.
So I view the thousand-year period as the Age of Reconciliation, the time when God removes the practice of sin from the entire creation.
This removal is mentioned in the Book of Matthew, as I have mentioned previously.
As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. (Matthew 13:40-43)
It may be observed that the passage above is not speaking of the guilt of sin. It is speaking of the removing of sin itself from the Kingdom. Also, those who will not submit to the program of removal will themselves be removed from the Kingdom. I am of the opinion that this program has begun. I know it has begun in my life.
So here is the picture. We have a world full of people, some secular, some religious, who do not do the will of Christ. The will of Christ is the most important aspect of the Kingdom of God!
We have Christian churches. The spiritual nature of all true Christians is in Christ at the right hand of God. Yet, the Christian people themselves, for the most part it appears, do not live in obedience to Christ because they never have been taught such a life is possible while we are alive in the present world.
There are a few, here and there, who live in obedience to God. But most, it seems to me, believe that they never will be able to be free from the power of sin until they die and pass into the spirit world. Of course, there is no scriptural evidence that death is our redeemer from the power of sin.
For the past few hundred years the philosophy of Humanism has been gaining ground. The teaching of Humanism is that man is his own god, and the highest good is human happiness. This is why we have the current emphasis, at least in America, on the “rights of people.”
The concept of man being his own god, and the happiness and rights of people being the highest possible good, is enlarging in the present hour. I have said before in other places that any government in which the pleasures of people are not placed in a high priority will not survive. We are moving toward the age of Antichrist, and Antichrist is the personification of man being his own god.
People at large have no intention of being reconciled to God and His righteousness. They may accept Jesus as their Savior, because that benefits them. But they will not accept Jesus as their personal Lord, whom they are to obey strictly in every issue of their life.
The Lord Jesus and His saints will appear to the world at the time of greatest spiritual darkness. People will declare “peace and safety,” believing they have been able to remove every obstacle to human pleasure and satisfaction.
Then from the sky will descend Christ and His saints. Their attitude will be the opposite of the philosophy of Humanism. They will be seeking God’s pleasure and will, not the pleasure and will of human beings. They themselves have learned obedience to God in the fires of suffering.
These invaders are not to be denied. A rod of iron righteousness has been created in their personalities. After they have cleansed the earth of the wicked spiritual forces, and have sent truly wicked people into the Land of Darkness in the spirit world, they will govern the people left on the earth.
You can imagine the resistance of people as they are told what they can do and what they cannot do. The rule of the saints will be loving, but very, very firm. Each governing saint, those described in Revelation 20, will be accompanied by powerful angels of great size. No rebellion of any kind whatever will be tolerated.
Thus we have a thousand years of reconciliation to God and Christ. The will of Christ, who will be stationed bodily in Jerusalem, will go out to His rulers. They in turn will govern their charges accordingly.
My guess would be that most people, after they realize they have no alternative but to obey, will be pleased with the peace that results. The few who stubbornly resist the will of Christ will be removed from the earth and sent into the spirit world for instruction, or if necessary, for punishment.
I have had quite a bit of experience teaching public-school children, particularly at the fifth-grade level. I have noticed that when one or two troublemakers are dealt with severely, and can no longer keep on disrupting the class, the rest of the pupils will settle down and happily do their work.
I expect the thousand years will be like that. The troublemakers will be removed. The remaining people, old and young, will be peaceful and content. The boys and girls will play in a happy, safe environment. The children will be able to make pets even of lions and tigers, who will eat straw instead of meat at that time. There will be nothing that hurts or destroys.
During this period, God will be giving every individual on earth and in the spirit world an opportunity to learn how to be reconciled to God. I am sure there will be some who absolutely will refuse to obey Christ. They shall be dealt with severely.
The angels and demons will never be given the gift of repentance. They cannot be redeemed. They are evil itself; therefore the evil cannot be removed from them. Since it appears spirits cannot be destroyed once they have been created, they will be incarcerated for eternity so they cannot destroy the work of God, just as they attempt to do today.
The same is true of human beings. They can resist the rule of Christ and His saints wilfully, realizing full well that they are being stubborn. If there is any way of saving them from themselves, God will do it.
But if in spite of all God’s efforts such rebels stubbornly resist all attempts to reconcile them to God, they will be put in the Lake of Fire with the wicked spirits. These people have become evil itself, and so evil cannot be removed from them. They are enemies of God. Their destiny is to become part of Satan. This is what it means to be “lost.”
If, like Satan, they were released after a thousand years of incarceration, they immediately would set out to bring confusion into the new world of righteousness. God will not permit this. God has promised His obedient children joy unspeakable and full of glory. God will not permit rebellious people to interfere with the love, joy, and peace He has promised His children who delight in obeying Him.
Here, then, is the answer to the question: “What is the purpose for the thousand-year period between the next appearing of Christ and the coming down of the New Jerusalem?”
The purpose is to reconcile all human beings to God, those who will accept such reconciliation to God and His righteous ways. These are the people whose names are in the Book of Life. They will be brought into the new world of righteousness, either as members of the Royal Priesthood, or else as citizens of the new world, being the inheritance of the Royal Priesthood.
A Firstfruits of the Royal Priesthood will be raised at the next appearing of Christ. They already, during their lifetimes, have been manifested at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Therefore no books are opened at their resurrection, the first resurrection of Revelation, Chapter Twenty.
The bodies of the remaining members of the Royal Priesthood, will be given to them at the end of the thousand-years. They have survived the great shaking of the heavens, and now have been prepared to join together with the Firstfruits as the entire Bride of the Lamb descends to the new earth as one Royal Priesthood.
From here on throughout eternity the new creation will be the playground for those who have chosen to be reconciled to God. Many will make their home on one of the multitude of stars, which no longer will give their light by nuclear fusion but by that same light that lighted the world during the first three days of creation.
Of the increase of Christ’s government and of peace there shall be no end. God in His infinite wisdom has brought all rebellion to an end.
(“Removing Sin from the Creation”, 3483-1)