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The Signs of the Times, vol. 13

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    April 21, 1887

    “What Is the Millennium” The Signs of the Times 13, 16, pp. 247, 248.

    WE have seen by the Scriptures that at the second coming of Christ, and the consequent resurrection of the righteous dead, the thousand years—the millennium—begins (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17; Revelation 20:4-6); that then likewise all the living wicked on the earth are slain (2 Thessalonians 1:7, 8; Revelation 19:11-21; 16:14-17; Jeremiah 25:30-33); that none of the wicked live any more until the thousand years are finished (Revelation 20:5, 7-9); and that therefore the conclusion certainly follows that the earth is left utterly desolate, and without a human inhabitant during the whole millennium. That this is not only the certain conclusion from correct premises, but is also the positive showing of all the Scripture on the subject, it is the purpose of this article to show.SITI April 21, 1887, page 247.1

    In Isaiah 14:22, 23 God said of Babylon, “For I will rise up against them, saith the Lord of hosts, and cut off from Babylon the name, and remnant, and son, and nephew, saith the Lord. I will also make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water; and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, saith the Lord of hosts.” This word everybody knows has been fulfilled to perfection. Babylon has lain for ages a ruin, a desolation, and an astonishment—it has been swept “with the besom of destruction.”SITI April 21, 1887, page 247.2

    And thus saith the Lord, “This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth; and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations. For the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?” Verses 26, 27. The ruin and desolation of ancient Babylon lie to-day as a mighty object lesson teaching the inhabitants of the world what this earth is yet to be, and that during the millennium.SITI April 21, 1887, page 247.3

    Again we read: “Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof. And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him. The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled; for the Lord hath spoken this word.” “The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again. 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.” Isaiah 24:1-3, 19-22.SITI April 21, 1887, page 247.4

    The Revised Version reads, “after many days they shall be punished,” which is really the correct idea, for the Hebrew word is the same one just before translated “punish.” Thus Isaiah 24:19-22 is identical with Revelation 16:17-21 and 20:5, 7-9, and shows the desolation of the earth, and the punishment of the living wicked when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven, with his mighty angels taking vengeance on them that know not God and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. The prisoners shall be gathered together in the pit (of death) for they live not till the thousand years are finished; “and after many days, shall they be punished,” after the thousand years, for “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 fire came down from God out of Heaven, and devoured them.” Revelation 20:7-9. It is certain therefore that this earth is to be utterly empty and utterly spoiled of all human inhabitants during the millennium.SITI April 21, 1887, page 248.1

    This time of ruin, of wasteness, and of desolation is “the great day of the Lord,” so often spoken of in the Bible. Although the great day of the Lord is somewhat more than exactly a thousand years in length, yet the millennium is the greater part of that great day. The great day of the Lord begins about a year before the coming of Christ, that is, about a year before the one thousand years proper begin. It begins with the outpouring out of the first vial of the wrath of God, that is, the first of the seven last plagues, for the wine of the wrath of God is the seven last plagues (Revelation 14:9, 10; 15:1; 16:1-21); and at the last of the seven last plagues the great voice of God is heard saying, “It is done;” then Christ comes, the earth is made desolate, and is left empty for the thousand years; then follows the resurrection and destruction of the wicked upon the burning earth. So that the great day of the Lord begins a short season before, and continues a short season after, the exact period of the one thousand years. Therefore as the millennium is the greater part of the great day of the Lord, whatever is said of the condition of the earth in the great day of the Lord, describes the condition of the earth during the millennium.SITI April 21, 1887, page 248.2

    Of this time Joel exclaims, “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain; let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand; a day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains.” Then he speaks of “a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations. A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them... And the Lord shall utter his voice before his army; for his camp is very great; for he is strong that executeth his word; for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?” Joel 2:1-11. This is identical with Revelation 19:11-21, and this army is the same as “the armies which were in Heaven,” and which “the armies which were in Heaven,” and which “upon white horses” follow the King of kings and Lord of lords when he comes in his glory taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is certain, then, that the second coming of the Lord introduces a time of darkness and gloominess, and of clouds and thick darkness upon the earth.SITI April 21, 1887, page 248.3

    This is further shown by Zephaniah: “The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord; the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers. And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord; and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord’s wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy; for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.” “I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith the Lord. I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumbling-blocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the Lord.” Zephaniah 1:14-18, 2, 3.SITI April 21, 1887, page 248.4

    As the result of all this, the condition of the earth is as seen and described by Jeremiah:—SITI April 21, 1887, page 248.5

    “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 at the presence of the Lord, and by his fierce anger. For thus hath the Lord said, The whole land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full end. For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black; because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it. The whole city shall flee for the noise of the horsemen and bowmen; they shall go into thickets, and climb up upon the rocks; every city shall be forsaken, and not a man dwell therein.” Jeremiah 4:23-29.SITI April 21, 1887, page 248.6

    These scriptures certainly show that at the second coming of Christ, the earth will be swept with the besom of destruction, made empty, and left utterly desolate with not a man to dwell therein. More passages might be quoted to the same effect, but assuredly it is not necessary. If these passages do not make that point clear, what could make it so? If the Lord wanted to declare to men that at his second coming to this world, he would make the earth waste, and desolate, and empty, and leave it utterly without a man to dwell in it, how would it be possible for him to tell it more plainly or more strongly than he has told it in the texts cited? Compare Jeremiah 4:23:—“I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light,”—with Genesis 1:2,—“The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep,”—and it is seen that at the end of the world, that is, at the second coming of Christ, the earth is to be brought back to the waste, formless, and void condition in which it stood at the beginning, ere ever light shone on it. And so it will remain for a thousand years, and such is the millennium upon the earth.SITI April 21, 1887, page 248.7

    Such in reality is the “millennium” to which the pulpit of these last days is looking as a time of peace and safety, as the time of its triumph in the conversion of the world; and with the hope of which it is deluding both itself and the world, for such a hope is like a spider’s web.SITI April 21, 1887, page 248.8