Coming World Crises --Part 18

Coming World Crises
Part 18

James Gunn

These are the notes of lectures given to the Men’s Bible Class which meets every two weeks during the winter at Central Gospel Hall, 25 Charles St. E., Toronto, Canada.

“Prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” As a light shining in a dark place, during these lectures prophecy illuminated areas which to the human mind seem quite obscure:

The Future of the Ecumenical Movement.
The Return and the Judgment Seat of Christ.
The Future of the Nations.
Europe in Prophecy.
Who is Anti-Christ?
Russia Invades Israel!
Will the Church Go Through the Tribulation?
The Millennial Reign of Christ.
Climax of the Ages.

Climax of The Ages

Continued from last number

Post-Millennial Events

There are several important events in this post-millennial period. Some of these appear in more detail than ethers, but all are extremely interesting:

First, Satan is loosed (Rev. 20:3, 7-8): After his imprisonment of one thousand years, Satan will be loosed. Immediately he will revert to his old tactics to continue his conflict against God. What he did to Eve in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3, 1 Tim. 2:14), he will again do. He who tempted the Lord in the wilderness (Luke 4:1-13) and failed, will be more successful among the future nations. “Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations” (Rev. 20:7-8).

Second, the last battle (Rev. 20:89): During the Millennium men shall not be trained for war (Isa. 2:4, Mic 4:3); obviously, not because of a change in their nature, but because of restraining power and authority. After the Millennium men from every part of world will be mobilized and trained so that “they are gathered together to battle” and “they encompass the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city.”

Just how long it will take to mobilize, equip, train and move this vast global army from “the four quarters of the earth” would be difficult to predict. Even in this jet-atomic age a project of such magnitude would require considerable time.

Third, the complete defeat (Rev. 20:9): This battle will be a direct confrontation between Heaven and Earth. The defeat will be sudden, certain and complete. This defeat through the fire from Heaven will result in the most extensive destruction of human life ever known; the earth will practically be depopulated. Whole cities have been destroyed by volcanic irruptions and by earthquakes. Tidal waves have destroyed thousands at one time, but the loss of human life by natural catastrophes and human wars will be insignificant in comparison to the destruction of the entire global army with its supporting personnel in a flashing stroke from Heaven. What devastation!

Not only will men be destroyed, but Satan will by that time have reached the end of his trail of arrogance and wickedness for we read, “The devil that deceived them was cast into the Lake of Fire” (Rev. 20:10).

Fourth, the dissolution of the material universe (Rev. 20:11, 2 Pet. 3:7-11, Rev. 21:1): It is a scientific fact as well as a biblical assertion that there is within the earth itself the very elements which could release the energy to destroy the world. The atomic destructive fire is held in reservation deep in the earth. Today, man fears lest a chain reaction be started carelessly, and that the entire population of the world be overthrown. God has planned His eschatological schedule, nothing will be premature, nothing will be late. He who in the fulness of time sent His Son, in the fulness of time will dissolve the heavens and the earth.

Fifth, the Great White Throne (Rev. 20:11-15): This might well be called the last assize. Five matters in connection with this trial of humanity should be understood: (a) It is obvious to those who have studied the details of predictive prophecy that by that time all the impenitent will be dead and confined temporarily in hell, therefore a resurrection is necessary. We read, “Death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them” (Rev. 20:13). This implies the restoration of each personality. Death releases the body, and hell, the soul and spirit; consequently each person appears completely integrated before the Great White Throne.

(b) Two books or records at least will be used in this judgment of the lost; the record of life, probably the names of all the redeemed, and the record of works. The first would decide who should be judged; the second, how he is to be judged. The person whose name does not appear in the Book of Life will be placed on trial, and he will be sentenced according to his works. Some will be punished with toleration, some without toleration (Matt. 11:20-24).

(c) All are cast, body, soul and spirit, into the Lake of Fire which is the second death. Thus the impenitent will suffer the same punishment as the devil (Rev. 20:10) and his cohorts, the beast and the false prophet (Rev. 19:20; 20:10). The wicked will suffer the venegeance of eternal fire in completely restored personalities.

In all probability fallen angels will be executed at this same time. We read, “God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment” (2 Pet. 2:4). “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 6).

If the assumption be correct that the angels are to be executed at this same Great White Throne, then we must also assume that the Christians of this Church era will be present on that occasion. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, saying, “Know ye not that we shall judge angels?” (1 Cor. 6:3). In the future, so united will the Church be to Christ that through her redemption and relationship to Him she will be so exalted as to become the judge of spirit beings.

Sixth, the disposition of all enemies (1 Cor. 15:25-26): “He (Christ) must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet.” By this time in the divine plan of prophecy, Christ will have subdued and destroyed the beast, the last great world political power; the false prophet, the Anti-Christ; all the impenitent; the devil and his angels; finally, He will destroy the last enemy, death. Death is the result and penalty of sin, we read, “Death and hell were cast into the Lake of Fire” (Rev. 20:14). Physical death is superseded by the second death, that is, eternal death.

Seventh, the consummation of the ages (1 Cor. 15:27-28): This final act in the annals of time should be examined with care: (a) The sovereignty of Christ: It was God’s original intention that man have dominion over the earth: the fowls of the air, the beasts of the field and the fish of the sea (Gen. 1:27-28). This supreme authority began with the first Adam; it will end with the Second Adam. The first Adam failed with the result “we see not yet all things put under Him” (Heb. 2:8-9). Instead, we see the Man Jesus Christ now crowned with glory and honour because He endured death for all the redemptive purposes of God. He who is now glorified in Heaven will eventually be crowned on Earth: “He hath put all things under His feet … And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all” (1 Cor. 15:27-28). Then in very truth the prophecy of Philippians chapter two will be fulfilled, “God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in Heaven, and things in Earth, and things under the Earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Vs. 9-11). Nebuchadnezzar, and many since his time, have sought world dominion with all subject to them. Christ is the only Man who will attain universal rule.

The abdication of Christ: “When all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all” (1 Cor. 15:28). The Son of Man after His full and glorious triumph, after the subjugation of all His enemies; yea, after all power and authority both friendly and hostile are made subject unto Him, will abdicate the throne that was His by mediatorial right, the throne from which He will have ruled in absolute and unsullied justice. He will lay down the crown and vacate the throne as Son of Man that God may be all in all. This act will end time; it will be the consummation of all the ages.

Divine revelation in the Bible records the beginning of this present creation in the majestically sublime words, “In the beginning God.” God in His Holy ‘Triunity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, created the Heaven and the Earth. The same divine revelation predicts the end of this creation in similarly majestic and sublime language, “God… all in all.” The reign of “Christ as Son of Man will cease that God in His Triunity may reign as Sovereign over the Eternal State. As at the beginning so it will be at the end, the Godhead will be absolutely supreme.

The Eternal State

Eternity penetrates beyond the borders of time. If man finds it difficult to understand time, how much more so Eternity. Eternity in the abstract sense is infinite, transcendent over all that is temporal; inexplorable and incomprehensible. To even think about Eternity, one has to reduce it to concrete examples’ (a) Eternity and God: God is certainly related to Eternity. He is infinite and transcendent. Of Him we read, “Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth Eternity” (Isa. 57:15). God’s dwelling is in accord with His very nature. (b) Eternity and man: “He (God) hath made everything beautiful in its time; also He hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end” (Ecc. 3:11). The marginal alternative reading in the King James Version reads, “He hath set Eternity in their hearts.” This setting of Eternity in the human heart could mean that man has received from God a sense of his own eternal existence. (c) Eternity and salvation The whole doctrine of salvation in order to be understood must be considered within the context of Eternity.

The Eternal State: For the symbolic description of the Eternal State it is necessary to turn to Revelation 21 and 22. One is aware that some excellent scholars consider chapter 21 as a picture of the Eternal State, but accept the early part of chapter 22 as a reverting to a description of the millennial reign of Christ. Without doubt there are problems in any approach to these chapters; nevertheless, there is a continuity of vision and thought from chapter 21:1 through chapter 22:5. It seems more logical to consider this entire passage as a symbolic vision of the Eternal State.

The Eternal State and Israel: The Eternal State constitutes a New Heaven and a New Earth in which righteousness permanently shall dwell (2 Pet. 3:13, Rev. 21:1, Isa. 65:17, 66:22). The reference to a New Heaven and Earth in Isaiah’s Prophecy indicates that Israel like the Church will not lose her identity in Eternity. The blending in Isaiah of millennial blessings with eternal blessings, the earthly with the heavenly, proves that millennial conditions are introductory to the Eternal State. This proves that the Kingdom of our Lord in its manifestation and glory is the foreshadowing of His Eternal Kingdom, the Kingdom to which there shall be no end.

The Eternal State and the Church: Within the Eternal State of a New Heaven and a New Earth there is another sphere of perfect bliss, the New Jerusalem, the Holy City (Rev. 21:1-6). This is the Jerusalem that is from above, the free city that is the mother of us all (Gal. 4:26), that is, the mother of all those who believe in Christ. Three times it is asserted that the origin of the Holy City is in Heaven (Rev. 3:12; 21:2, 10).

Here, then, we have the dwelling place of the Church, if not the Church herself, a pure and bridal city. While this remarkable description is given in symbols, the place itself, nevertheless is literal. From the details of this description, we learn that the bridal city rests firmly upon the foundation of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, that is upon the ministry of the apostles (Eph. 2:20). Upon the beautiful gates of the city are the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. These twelve tribes will have easy entrance to the New Jerusalem.