The End of the World
January 1st, 1984 @ 7:30 PM
2 Peter 3:1-18
Dr. W. A. Criswell
2 Peter 3:1-18
1-1-84 7:30 p.m.
Now, the subject of the sermon tonight is The End of the World, and you can easily follow it in your Bible. Let us turn to Daniel chapter 9 – the ninth chapter of the Book of Daniel. The key to all prophecy is found in this chapter: the ninth chapter of the Book of Daniel and beginning at verse 24. Daniel 9, verse 24 – the key, I say, the keystone to the arch of all prophecy: the heart and center of everything God has told us about the future – Daniel 9:24. It is Gabriel who is sent from God to tell Daniel the end of the age, and Gabriel says:
– the Hebrew is "seventy sevens" –
Seventy sevens are determined upon the people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.
That is the end of the world. "Seventy sevens are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city" [Daniel 9:24].
When you begin talking about the end of the world, you immediately begin speaking about Israel: the Jewish people, the chosen family of God. All four covenants find their consummation in that end of the world, in that millennial reign of King Jesus [Revelation 20:1-6]. The Abrahamic Covenant finds its fulfillment then [Genesis 12:1-3]. The Palestinian Covenant finds its fulfillment then [Deuteronomy 29:1-29, 30:1-10]. The Davidic Covenant finds its fulfillment then [2 Samuel 7:10-13; 1 Chronicles 17:11-14; 2 Chronicles 6:16], and the new Covenant finds its fulfillment then [Jeremiah 31:31, 33; Luke 22:20].
So Gabriel says to the prophet statesman Daniel, "When we come to everlasting righteousness, [seventy] sevens are determined upon Thy people" [Daniel 9:24]. Now that is all there is. There is not anything else. "Seventy sevens are determined upon thy people, Israel, until this consummation of the age, until everlasting righteousness is brought in" [Daniel 9:24]. It isn’t seventy-one sevens. It isn’t sixty-nine sevens. It is seventy sevens.
Now, when we come – as the angel Gabriel says, "Know therefore and understand" [Daniel 9:25] – when we come to the interpretation of these seventy sevens, we learn that they are sevens of years, seventy sevens of years; so seventy times seven is 0 years. There is 0 years that God has determined on the people of Israel until the time of the end.
Now he divides that seventy sevens into this: "Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem . . ." [Daniel 9:25] – and that commandment is in the [second] chapter of Nehemiah [Nehemiah 2:1-10]; all of the other decrees that you read in Ezra concern the building of the Temple [Ezra 1:1-4, 6:1-12, 7:11-28]. The decree that concerns the rebuilding of Jerusalem was issued by Artaxerxes Longimanus – "long hands," Longimanus – in the [second] chapter of the Book of Nehemiah [Nehemiah 2:1-10].
So from the commandment to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem unto Messiah the Prince shall be "seven weeks" and "three score and two weeks" [Daniel 9:25]. The seven weeks – that’s forty-nine years – refer to the rebuilding of Jerusalem, the city of Jerusalem; and after those forty-nine years, there are three score and two weeks. There are sixty-two weeks until the coming of Messiah; and when you start with the decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus in the [second] chapter of Nehemiah – the decree to build Jerusalem – until the coming of Messiah, you come to the days of Christ, the Lord Jesus: 483 years; and after three score and two weeks, after the sixty-nine weeks – the seven weeks and the three score and two weeks – shall Messiah be cut off [Daniel 9:26]. And there we arrive at the date of 33 AD. Our Lord was crucified in 33 AD. It says here, "But not for Himself" [Daniel 9:26]. That is, He gave His life for others, for us.
Now, we change to another. In the middle of verse 26,
. . . and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. And the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
That refers to the coming of the prince of the Roman Empire who, in 70 AD, destroyed the city and the nation; and the people were desolate, and the city was in ruins, and the nation was scattered to the ends of the earth.
Then in verse 27: "that prince" – he is a successor to the prince, the Roman prince, namely, Vespasian and Titus who destroyed the city and the nation. The successor, coming out of the same background and the same Gentile world power, that prince "shall confirm the covenant with many," with the people of God, "for one week; and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease . . ." [Daniel 9:27].
The final week is separated from the sixty-nine. The sixty-nine weeks is the time period from the decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus to rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince comes and is cut off, is crucified; that’s 483 years. Then, this last week – the seventh, the seventieth week, the seventieth seven – this last week, the seven years of the last week, is pulled out and set apart by itself; and the prophet divides that week right in the middle, and that middle division of the last week is referred to again and again in the Bible. Sometimes it is called forty-two months [Revelation 11:2, 13:5]. Sometimes it is called 1,260 days [Revelation 11:3, 12:6]. Sometimes it is called "a time, times and a half a time" [Daniel 12:7; Revelation 12:14]. Sometimes, it is called "a time, times and a dividing of time," [Daniel 7:25] but it is very much in Scripture. This seventieth week is set apart by itself and is divided into three-and-a half years here, three-and-a-half years there, forty-two months – the rest of these things.
Now, that is all there is. There’s not anything else. When we come to this seventieth week, it is the end. It’s the end time. That’s the consummation of the age.
Well, there are more than 0 years in this historical world and life in which our generation is cast. So what has happened? What has happened is – and you’ve heard me speak of this so many times until I hear you smile when I refer to it – what has happened is, there was a mystery. There was a secret that the apostles say God kept in His heart, and He never revealed it to the prophets. All He revealed to the prophets was this that we’ve just gone through. They never knew the secret that God kept in His heart, namely, that there was a time period. Paul calls it, the Bible calls it, the New Testament calls it a mustērion: a secret that God kept in His heart [Romans 16:25, Ephesians 3:1-7, Colossians 1:26], and that time period is between the cutting off of the Messiah, the sixty-nine weeks, and the seventieth week which brings us to the consummation of the age. Between those two weeks, the sixty-nine weeks up until the death of the Messiah and the seventieth week that brings us to the consummation of the age – between the sixty-nine weeks and the seventieth week – there is a great mustērion, a great mystery, a great secret that God kept in His heart [Romans 16:25, Ephesians 3:1-7, Colossians 1:26].
And we live in the midst of that great interlude, that great intermission. We call it the "day of grace." We call it the day of the church. We call it the day of the Holy Spirit. We call it the day of the evangelization of the world. We call it the day of the preaching of the gospel. We call it the day of the calling out of the called.
The prophets never saw it. God kept the secret in His heart until Christ the King was crucified; and when King Jesus died, crucified, rejected by His people, before He turned to glory, He gave to the apostles a worldwide commission [Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8] and that is the mustērion: the creation of a church, the body of Christ.
Now, when the end time comes – and it will certainly come – when the end time comes, it will begin with the rapture – the taking away of the church. The church will be taken out of this world. The Lord said, "I will come as a thief in the night" [1 Thessalonians 5:2, 4; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 3:3, 16:15]. "Clandestinely, furtively, secretly, unannouncedly, I will come."
There is not anything between us and the coming of the Lord. There is no sign. There’s no time period. There is no development. There’s no fulfillment. He can come any day, any time, any hour. That’s why He says, "Watch, for at a time that ye think not and know not, the Son of Man cometh" [Matthew 24:44; Luke 12:40]. Jesus can come any day, any time, and we are to be ready.
Now, the end of this intermission. The end of this interlude, the end of this mustērion, the end of this time between the sixty-ninth and the seventieth weeks of Daniel: the end of it is when Jesus comes for us, for His own, and we are raptured up to heaven. We are snatched away to our Savior in glory. In 1 Thessalonians 4, beginning at verse 13, the Apostle Paul writes:
I would not have you without knowledge, my brethren, concerning them which are asleep
– that have died –
that ye sorrow not as others who have no hope.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus
– who have died in the Lord –
will God bring with Him.
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not precede them which are asleep.
For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with a voice of the archangel, and with a trump of God. And the dead in Christ shall rise first.
Then we who 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.
The first thing, the first thing, the first thing at the conclusion of this interlude – this age of grace – the first thing is the resurrection of those who have fallen asleep in Jesus, the resurrection of those who have died in Christ [1 Thessalonians 4:16], and the rapture – the taking away of the living generation that will be here when Jesus comes for His own [1 Thessalonians 4:17].
That’s the first thing; and it can come any day, any moment, any time. It can come before I’m through saying this sentence. It could come at midnight or at the dawn in the morning or tomorrow. It can come any day. There is not anything between us and the coming of our Lord. We are not looking for signs. We’re not looking for tribulations. We’re not looking for Armageddons. We’re not looking for anything but Jesus. We are looking for our Savior; and the first thing that shall happen, that shall come to pass that ends this interlude between the sixty-ninth and the seventieth week in Daniel, is the resurrection of the dead in Christ and the snatching away, the rapturing, of us who will be alive at the coming of our Lord to meet our Lord in the air [1 Thessalonians 4:16-17].
Now, our people – our church, you and I – whether we live or whether we die, we’re going to be with the Lord [1 Thessalonians 5:9-10]. When we are – when we are raptured, when we’re taken away, there are two things that await us in heaven. Up there where Jesus is, up there in that beautiful city made out of gold [Revelation 21:18, 21], the gates of it are pearl [Revelation 21:21], the river of life runs through the midst of it [Revelation 22:1-2], and the throne of our Lord is there [Revelation 21:3, 5; 22:1, 3]. When we die, that’s where we will go [John 14:1-6]. We have a home there in heaven.
Now, when we are raptured, when we are taken away, when we come out of this earth and meet our Lord, the first thing that happens to us is we all must appear at the judgment seat. The Greek word is bēma. We must all appear at the bēma of Christ – that’s the judgment seat of Christ – that every one of us may receive the reward for the things we have done according to what we have done. That’s 2 Corinthians 5:10. The first thing that happens to us when we are raptured or when we are raised from the dead is that we are standing before the bēma of our Lord there to receive our rewards.
Well, why don’t I receive the reward when I die? Why don’t I immediately receive it? Because I don’t die when I die. The influence of my life goes on and on and on, on and on and on.
I remember in Amarillo, there was a wonderful boy up there – a marvelous fellow. He and I were in the same class, graduated together. We were in the same Sunday School class together. We went down to Baylor University together. He became an infidel. He became an atheist, and I went to see him one night to talk to him about his infidelity and his atheism; and when I walked into his room, there he was reading Tom Paine’s Age of Reason [1794-1795] – the infidel Tom Paine. Tom Paine’s [1737-1809] been dead years and years and scores and scores of years, but my dear friend from Amarillo was there reading Tom Paine. You don’t die when you die. Your influence goes on, and that’s why you don’t receive your reward until you come to the end of the age. Then, Almighty God alone is able to unravel the scheme of the influence of your life, the people you’ve touched, the shadow that you’ve cast over the lives and pilgrimage of other people. You stand before God to receive the reward of what you have done.
In the third chapter of 1 Corinthians, Paul speaks of that reward [1 Corinthians 3:8-15]. Some have built with gold, silver, and precious stones [1 Corinthians 3:12]. They’ll receive a marvelous reward. Some have built with wood, hay, and stubble [1 Corinthians 3:12]. Everything they’ve done will burn up. It’s dust and ashes; and he says some people are going into heaven by the skin of their teeth [1 Corinthians 3:15] – that is, as if they were saved by fire; that is, as if they ran out of a house naked, have nothing at all. Just their souls are saved, but they have no reward. They have no anything.
That’s the first thing that’s going to happen is after we’re resurrected, after we are raptured, the church up there with our Lord in heaven will be rewarded according to our works [1 Corinthians 3:8-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10].
Now the second thing that will happen is we are going into the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. We are in the nineteenth chapter of the Book of the Revelation. We are there at the marriage of the Lamb: "And His wife hath made herself ready . . ." [Revelation 19:7] and she is clothed with the righteousness of the saints" [Revelation 19:8]. That is, she’s been rewarded, and the clothing, the garments, the "fine linen, clean and white, is the righteousness of the saints" [Revelation 19:8]. We have been rewarded, and now we sit down in heaven at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb [Revelation 19:7-9].
Now that is the story of the church. That’s our end. That’s our consummation. That’s where we are facing. That’s where we’re headed. We’re going to be with our Lord. We’re going to be judged, and we’re going to receive from Him all of the good things that He has prepared for us. There’s not a thing we’ve ever done for Jesus that God hasn’t written it up there in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and it becomes our reward forever [Matthew 10:42]. Every prayer we’ve made, every gesture for Him we’ve ever offered, every good word we’ve spoken, every deed we’ve ever done, every gift we’ve ever made, every song we’ve ever sung – everything is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and it becomes our reward at the bēma of Christ [2 Corinthians 5:10]; and then we sit down with the Lord in the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. As the Lord said in the Lord’s Supper, "I will not drink it. I will not drink henceforth of the fruit of the vine until I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom" [Matthew 26:29]. We’re going to sit down with our Lord, and we’re going to eat together.
Now, we had a wonderful family in our church that left our church because we eat down here at the church. That was against the religion of the family. I don’t know what in the world they’re going to do in heaven because when we get up there in heaven, we’re going to sit down, and we’re going to eat together; and we’re going to eat marvelously, and I’m in favor of it. God invented eating, and I think that’s the finest thing God ever did was when He invented eating. We’re going to eat up there in heaven, and that’s the church.
Now, we’re going to pick up that seventieth week of the Book of Daniel, the seventieth week [Daniel 9:24-27]. This is the end time after the intermission, after the interlude, after the age of the church, after the age of grace, after the age of the preaching of the gospel in this generation that ends with the rapture of the church – the taking away of the church into heaven – and our reward and our sitting down at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Now we’re going to pick up the seventieth week which brings us to the end of the world. This is found in the Apocalypse, in the Revelation chapter 1, verse 19. The outline of the Revelation is this: "Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be," meta tauta; the things after these things.
That’s what John is instructed by our Lord to write: write down "the things which are." First, "write down the things which thou hast seen"; second, write down "the things which are"; and third, write down "the things meta tauta, after these things" [Revelation 1:19].
So John sat himself down and, according to the Word of the Lord, this is what he wrote. He wrote the first chapter of the Revelation, which is the vision of our glorified Lord Jesus: "The things which thou hast seen" – and he had just seen the glorious vision of our risen Savior, and he wrote that down [Revelation 1:9-20].
Then Jesus said to him, "Write down the things which are" [Revelation 1:19], and I turn to the Revelation, and I turn to Revelation chapter 2 and chapter 3, and this is "the things that are" – this is the thing that is. These are the things that are. They’re the churches. This is the church age. This is that great interlude that we spoke of a moment ago. And so John, according to the outline and the commandment of the Lord, writes down "the things that are." The churches are. Here’s one. Over yonder’s one – over there in Singapore where our sweet Marsha served is one. Over there in Korea where our boy Joe – Joe Gene Autrey, where he’s going in this week – there’s one over there. "These are the things that are. Write those down" [Revelation 1:19]. So he writes those down [Revelation 2:1-3:22], and this is the church age given to us under seven pictures, seven messages.
Now, I am looking for "and the things which shall be meta tauta" – the things that are after this church age – meta tauta. So when I come to the end of chapter 3 which is the last church, the Laodicean church, the first thing I read is meta tauta [Revelation 4:1]. Now, that’s what I’m looking for: meta tauta: "after this." Meta tauta translated "after this."
That’s the third part of this great apocalyptic vision. First, what he’d seen which is the vision of our Lord in chapter 1 [Revelation 1:9-20]; the things which are – those are the churches in chapters 2 and 3 [Revelation 2:1-3:22]; and now, meta tauta, the things that are beyond the days and the age of the churches, and that’s chapter 4.
And in chapter 4, I read:
Meta tauta I looked, and behold, a door was opened in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was as it were a trumpet talking with me which said, "Come up hither . . ."
"Come up hither." Now that is the rapture of the church, and at chapter 4 in the Apocalypse, the church disappears. You don’t see it any more. Why? Because it’s gone. The church is with the Lord in heaven at the bēma of Christ [2 Corinthians 5:10] and at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb [Revelation 19:7-10]. In the Apocalypse, the church disappears at meta tauta. It’s raptured. It’s taken away. You don’t see it any more.
In chapters 2 and 3, when he writes of "the things that are," it’s just one church after another. It’s Ephesus [Revelation 2:1-7] and Smyrna [Revelation 2:8-11]. It’s Thyatria [Revelation 2:18-29] and finally Laodicea [Revelation 3:14-22]; but when we come to chapter 4, the church is taken away. It is raptured into heaven, and it is not seen in the Revelation until the church comes with our Lord in the nineteenth chapter of the Book of the Revelation coming at the conclusion of the battle of Armageddon.
So in that period of time between chapter 4 and chapter 19 is the seventieth week of the Book of Daniel [Daniel 9:24-27]. This is God’s final week reaching to the consummation of the age. Now, we don’t have time, not the beginning of time, for me to speak of that seventieth week, but I can point out two things in it.
Number one: it is a time of tremendous revival. Now, isn’t that amazing? Between the fourth chapter of the Revelation and the nineteenth chapter of the Revelation, God is pouring out His judgment upon this earth. The church is gone, and with the church the Spirit – restraining of the Holy Spirit of God, the Spirit of grace – and the preaching of the gospel by the church. The church is gone, and God is pouring out His judgments upon this wicked, sinful earth: the seals, the trumpets, the vials of wrath – God’s pouring them out.
And yet, in the midst of this awesome time – this seventieth week of Daniel, the time of the judgment of Almighty God – in the midst of that is the greatest revival the church has, I mean the world has ever known. In the seventh chapter of the Book of the Revelation, God seals 144,000 Jewish evangelists, 12,000 from each one of the tribes of Israel [Revelation 7:3-8]. And they preach, and they cry with a loud voice, "Salvation. Salvation."
And how many are saved? One of the elders said, "Who are these who are arrayed in white robes, and whence came they?" [Revelation 7:13]
"And I said, ‘Sir, I don’t know. I’ve never seen them before’" [Revelation 7:14]
Now, I want to ask you something. If those people that John sees up there who are marvelously saved, if they were saints back there from the day in which he lived, wouldn’t he have recognized his father Zebedee? Wouldn’t he have recognized his mother? Wouldn’t he have recognized his old friend Peter? Wouldn’t he have recognized his brother James who was martyred? Wouldn’t he have recognized those saints in Ephesus where he’d pastored for so long?
He looked up there at that group, and he said, "Lord, I don’t know who they are. I’ve never seen them before." And the elder said, "These are they who have come out of hē thlipsis, hē megalē, "the tribulation, the great" [Revelation 7:14]: "These are they who have come out of the great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore . . ." [Revelation 7:14-15] and then it goes on to describe the bliss of these marvelous martyrs who have found their faith and hope in Jesus Christ [Revelation 7:15-17].
Now, I cannot make but this remark as I pass by. Any time, great revival is possible. Any day, anywhere, among any people, revival is possible. A great revival is possible in this church. A great revival is possible anywhere in the earth, and the greatest revival the world has ever known will be in the heart of that seventieth week of the Book of Daniel [Daniel 9:24-27], this day of the great Tribulation [Revelation 5:1-18:24]. Isn’t that amazing, and isn’t that the most marvelous thing that you could ever think for? There’s not any time but is a God-blessed time for an outpouring of the grace of our Lord. Marvelous revival: people saved, people turning to God. It’s so in the midst of the seventieth week, the great end time of our Lord [Revelation 7:9-17].
Now, I have just one other moment, thing, picked out of this seventieth week. It’s the campaign of Armageddon. In Revelation 16, beginning at verse 13:
And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
They are the spirits of demons, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
[Revelation 16:13-14, 16]
The great final conflict of the world will be in the Middle East. It’ll be over there in Israel. That’s where the last battle will be fought; and when I turn to the nineteenth chapter of the Book of the Revelation, in the midst of that awesome battle, Jesus comes with His saints [Revelation 19:11-19]. As Jude says, "Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints" [Jude 1:14]; and in the midst of that awful campaign, the Lord Jesus Christ comes from heaven.
Now, when the Lord comes with His people – remember He came for us, any moment, any time, the resurrection of the dead, the rapturing away of His people, the bēma and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb – when the Lord comes, when He comes, that is the beginning of the Millennium in the twentieth chapter – the binding of Satan for a thousand years [Revelation 20:1-3].
Now, no one shall enter the Millennium who is not saved. There will be a judgment of Israel which is outlined for us in Ezekiel chapter 20, verses 34 to 38. There is a judgment of the people of Israel. No Jew will enter the Millennium who hasn’t been saved, who doesn’t accept Christ as His Savior. They’re being put under the rod. They’ll pass under the rod; and those that refuse the Messiah are rejected – cast out, lost, damned – and those that receive the Messiah enter into the Millennium.
Now, there is also a judgment of the Gentiles, of the nations, and that judgment is in the twenty-fifth chapter of the Book of Matthew:
When the Son of Man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, He shall sit upon the throne of His glory.
And before Him shall be gathered all
– and you’ve got it translated "nations" –
all the Gentiles.
When the Lord comes, these Gentiles who are alive will be gathered before the Lord for a great and tremendous judgment day. Now:
And the King shall answer and say unto them, "Verily I say unto you
– this is verse  –
inasmuch as ye have not had done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have, ye
– if ye haven’t done it unto these My brethren –
ye have not done it unto Me."
If you have done it unto one at least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.
Now, it is a violation of everything in the Word of God for us to say that we’re saved or we’re lost according to our good deeds and our good works.
I was in hunger, and you gave Me meat; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in . . . naked and you clothed Me . . . I was in prison, and you came unto Me.
Now, for us to say that these Gentiles are going into the Millennium saved because of their good works is a violation of everything in the Bible. The Bible teaches us that we are saved by the grace and mercy of God. We’re saved by faith. We’re saved by grace. We are not saved by works. That’s the gospel of the Old Testament [Genesis 15:1-6]. That’s the gospel of the New Testament [Acts 16:31; Ephesians 2:8-9].
Now, there has to be some meaning here when the Lord says these shall go into the Millennium [Matthew 25:34] and these shall not [Matthew 25:41]; and the basis is, and it is very apparent, in that 144,000 that were, that were sealed – the Jewish evangelists of this world in that seventieth and last week. How we listen to their message is how we’re going to be judged as to whether we’re saved or lost: "Insomuch as you’ve done it unto one of the least of these My brethren" [Matthew 25:40]. And Jesus was a Jew, and these are His people. This is His nation, His brothers. "Insofar as you’ve done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto me" [Matthew 25:40].
When they received these evangelists who’ve been preaching the gospel of salvation and grace and the love of God, when they received them and believed their message, they were saved [Matthew 25:35]. When they refused them, they were cast out [Matthew 25:41]. That’s the basis of the judgment of the Gentiles as we enter into the ultimate and final millennium [Matthew 25:31-46].
Now, just one other thing: This morning I picked out one facet of this millennial reign of our Lord and that was the peace that He shall bring to a warring world. Peace: "They have beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks . . . and we won’t learn war anymore" [Isaiah 2:4; Joel 3:10; Micah 4:3] and there’ll be none to make us afraid.
I picked out one facet of the millennial reign of Christ when He comes back to this earth. I want to pick out one other tonight. Out of a multitude of facets, there are more things in the Bible about the Millennium than any other one subject, one doctrinal presentation, in all the Word of God. I pick out just one other facet of the Millennium, the end of the seventieth week when Jesus comes to reign over this earth, and this facet regards the world in which we live.
In the eighth chapter of the Book of Romans, beginning at verse 19, Romans 8:19: "For the earnest expectation of the ktisis," translated here "creature." It’s creation: ktisis, "creation."
For the earnest expectation of the creation
– the whole creation of God –
waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God
– when we come back with our Lord –
For the ktisis, the creation, was made subject to mataiotēs," the frailty that we see in life.
The creation was made subject to frailty
– to death, to hunger and sorrow and pain –
– it didn’t choose –
but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope.
There’s a mystery in God why He permits the evil in this world, but it’s for some good thing. It’s for some blessing to us:
Because the creation itself shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty to the children of God.
For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
And not only they
– not only the whole creation is fallen and groans –
but we ourselves who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
Paul is saying there that the whole creation has fallen into ruin and into destruction and into desolation and into travail and into sorrow and death – the whole creation has. But, he says, there is coming a time, namely, when Jesus comes again – which we have said is at the end of this seventieth week when Jesus comes again with the sons of glory, with us – when Jesus comes again with His redeemed, the whole creation is going to be remade. It’s going to be redeemed. It’s going to be in its pristine and first Edenic glory. All of the creation of God is going to be remade, rejuvenated, regenerated, reconstructed, renewed. All of it is.
When I read about these astronomers, they talk about these stars. They are burned, and they are desolate. They are just a fallen universe. They’re a part of it. The planets, the suns, the stars – all of it out there is fallen. It’s burned. It’s destroyed. It’s ruined.
When I look at our world, I see in this planet on which we live a ruined and fallen and destroyed planet. I flew, one time, from the south end of the Sahara Desert to the extreme northern end; and as the hour after hour after hour we flew over that Sahara Desert, it is an endless mass of desolation, ruin, sand, and rock, and vacuity crying aloud for God’s intervention – the refreshing rains that come from His gracious hands.
Not only that part of the world, one time I flew from Seoul, Korea to Paris, France and flew over the Arctic Circle. Thousands of miles – it was about a twenty-three or twenty-four-hour journey – thousands of miles of utter desolation. The tundra of those vast land masses of the north and the seas of ice and waste: it is a fallen world.
And not only is the planet blasted, and not only is it hurt and ruined, but everything in it is subject to violence and to death. The animals eat one another and destroy one another. They are vicious: the lion, and the tiger, and the wolf, and the rattlesnake; and the most vicious and violent of all in the earth are the people – the human, the homo sapiens, the race of men who kill one another and destroy one another and lie in wait for one another and terrorize one another. It is a world fallen. It is a world of death. It is a vast planet in which to bury those who come to the end of life.
But Paul says in the eighth chapter of the Book of Romans there’s going to be a re-creation of this world, and the travail and the pain and the agony that the whole earth and the whole creation and all that’s in it has felt is going to be changed [Romans 8:19-23].
And then, of course, the marvelous prophet Isaiah writes:
The wolf shall dwell with the lamb. And the leopard shall lie down with the kid . . .
And the lion shall eat straw like an ox.
The sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, And the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, As the waters cover the sea.
The whole earth is going to be remade. I was asked about that by one of our staff members just before we came into this, into this service tonight, and I replied, "God’s going to remake this whole earth – all of it."
I haven’t time to go into those prophecies, but even Israel, which is so mountainous and rocky, it’s going to be a plain [Isaiah 40:4]; and it’s going to be a great heavy rainfall, and there’s going to be fertile ground, and the plowmen are going to overtake one another, the reaper and the sower, because of the abundant, prolific production of the land in Israel; and the whole world is going to be like that. It’s going to be like it was in the Garden of Eden. The world will be beautiful, and it will be productive and prolific and fecund, and it will be at peace, and it will be a joy and a delight and a glory to God.
I mentioned the fact that there is, that there is great evidence that the earth one time was that way. Don’t you know that up there on the north slope of Alaska, up there in the Arctic Circle, don’t you know, up there on the north slope of Alaska, they have found one of the great oil fields of the world? Well, if the scientist is correct, oil is made from vegetation that is decayed and great weight has fallen upon it; and there it is turned into petroleum.
Well, what does that mean way up there in the north? That means that at one time, at one time, that entire Arctic world up there was filled with great trees and ferns and all of the things that characterize the beautiful Garden of Eden; and all over this world, the whole world was beautiful and verdant and green, and the animals lived together in perfect peace – the wolf and the lamb and the leopard and the kid.
And God intended for us to live in grace and in love with one another. It was never the intention of God that we hate one another or despise one another or do wrong to one another nor was it the intention of God that we ever die. It was the purpose and program of the Lord that we have a wonderful world, and that we live in that wonderful world as wonderful people, and that we love one another and be happy in one another, and that we worship God and serve our Lord [Genesis 1:1-2:25]. That was the intention of God, and Satan led us into the fall and destroyed God’s perfect creation [Genesis 3:1-24].
But at the end time, all that we have lost, God will give us back once more; and we will enjoy and praise His name and be glad and be enriched by His presence [Revelation 21:1-22:7]. We’ll see Him. We’ll worship Him. He’ll be our visible Lord and King. We can talk to Him. The great prophecy in Isaiah that I read this morning: All the people and all the nations will flow to the throne of God [Isaiah 2:2, 60:11]. That means we can talk to Jesus face to face about anything. It is glorious beyond any way that I have word to describe it. That’s what God hath prepared for us who love Him as the great eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews has described it: "God having provided some better thing for us" [Hebrews 11:40].
Oh, how wonderfully precious and how gloriously dear are the promises of God. We’re going to win. We’re going to live. Death and the grave and all the weakness of the flesh will not interdict, will not hide us away, will not take us away from the glorious triumph that the Lord hath in store for those who place their trust in Him [1 Corinthians 15:53-57].
And that’s our invitation to you tonight. What a beautiful, glorious evening to begin the New Year with our Lord, to accept Him as your Savior, to open your heart to Him: "Lord Jesus, come into my heart, into my house, into my home. Lord Jesus, I just come to Thee in loving faith and trust and give my life to Thee. I’m on the way, Pastor. I’m on the way. Hurry up with that song. I’m on the way;" or a family you coming in to the fellowship of our dear and wonderful church. God bless you as you come. To answer some call of the Lord in your heart, "Pastor, God’s spoken to me in my heart, and I’m answering tonight and I’m on the way." God bless you as you come.
We’ll be singing our song; we’ll be praying for you; we’ll be rejoicing with the angels in this response of your life. Do it. That first step you make will be the most meaningful you’ll ever make in your life. That decision will be the greatest decision you’ve ever made in your life. Make the decision now. Do it now, and when we stand to sing our hymn, stand coming down that stairway, coming down that aisle: "I’m on the way, Pastor. Here I am." God bless you as you come. Angels attend you in the way as you come, while we stand and sing our hymn of appeal.