1. THE DOOM OF A FALLEN PLANET
a. What happens to planet Earth when its Maker returns? Isaiah 24:1, 3, 5, 6; Jeremiah 4:23–26.
“At the coming of Christ the wicked are blotted from the face of the whole earth—consumed with the spirit of His mouth and destroyed by the brightness of His glory. Christ takes His people to the City of God, and the earth is emptied of its inhabitants. . . .
“The whole earth appears like a desolate wilderness. The ruins of cities and villages destroyed by the earthquake, uprooted trees, ragged rocks thrown out by the sea or torn out of the earth itself, are scattered over its surface.”—The Great Controversy, p. 657.
b. What happens to the one who corrupted the planet? Revelation 20:1, 2.
“[Jeremiah 4:23–26 quoted.] Here is to be the home of Satan with his evil angels for a thousand years.”—Ibid., p.659.
2. THE THOUSAND YEARS
a. Explain the sense in which Satan is chained for 1,000 years. Revelation 20:3.
“Limited to the earth, [Satan] 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. . . .
“Even the wicked are now placed beyond the power of Satan, and alone with his evil angels he remains to realize the effect of the curse which sin has brought. . . .
“For a thousand years, Satan will wander to and fro in the desolate earth to behold the results of his rebellion against the law of God. During this time his sufferings are intense.”—The Great Controversy, pp. 659, 660.
b. What task is done in heaven by the saved from all generations who will ascend to meet Christ in the air? Revelation 20:4, 6; 1 Corinthians 6:2, 3.
“In union with Christ [the saints] judge the wicked, comparing their acts with the statute book, the Bible, and deciding every case according to the deeds done in the body. . . .
“Satan also and evil angels are judged by Christ and His people.”—Ibid., p.661.
c. To what spot on the earth does Christ and the new Jerusalem descend from heaven at the close of the thousand years? Zechariah 14:4, 9; Revelation 21:1, 2.
“As the New Jerusalem, in its dazzling splendor, comes down out of heaven, it rests upon the place purified and made ready to receive it, and Christ, with His people and the angels, enters the Holy City.”—Ibid., p.663.
d. What is the attitude of the people raised at the resurrection that follows the thousand years? Revelation 20:5 (first part), 7, 8.
3. DECEPTION INTO DESTRUCTION
a. Explain the last deceptive ploy of Satan, and how its results are executed. Revelation 20:9–15; Malachi 4:1.
“As the wicked dead are raised and [Satan] sees the vast multitudes upon his side, his hopes revive, and he determines not to yield the great controversy. He will marshal all the armies of the lost under his banner and through them endeavor to execute his plans. The wicked are Satan’s captives. In rejecting Christ they have accepted the rule of the rebel leader. They are ready to receive his suggestions and to do his bidding. Yet, true to his early cunning, he does not acknowledge himself to be Satan. He claims to be the prince who is the rightful owner of the world and whose inheritance has been unlawfully wrested from him. He represents himself to his deluded subjects as a redeemer, assuring them that his power has brought them forth from their graves and that he is about to rescue them from the most cruel tyranny. The presence of Christ having been removed, Satan works wonders to support his claims. He makes the weak strong and inspires all with his own spirit and energy. He proposes to lead them against the camp of the saints and to take possession of the City of God. . . .
“With military precision the serried ranks advance over the earth’s broken and uneven surface to the City of God. By command of Jesus, the gates of the New Jerusalem are closed, and the armies of Satan surround the city and make ready for the onset.”—The Great Controversy, pp. 663, 664.
“Fire comes down from God out of heaven. The earth is broken up. The weapons concealed in its depths are drawn forth. Devouring flames burst from every yawning chasm. The very rocks are on fire. . . .
“The wicked receive their recompense in the earth. . . . Some are destroyed as in a moment, while others suffer many days. All are punished ‘according to their deeds’ (Psalm 28:4). The sins of the righteous having been transferred to Satan, he is made to suffer not only for his own rebellion, but for all the sins which he has caused God’s people to commit. His punishment is to be far greater than that of those whom he has deceived. After all have perished who fell by his deceptions, he is still to live and suffer on. In the cleansing flames the wicked are at last destroyed, root and branch—Satan the root, his followers the branches. The full penalty of the law has been visited; the demands of justice have been met; and heaven and earth, beholding, declare the righteousness of Jehovah.”—Ibid., pp.672, 673.
4. PRESERVED FOR ETERNITY
a. How does Christ protect the just from the unquenchable fire? Psalm 84:11.
“While the earth was wrapped in the fire of destruction, the righteous abode safely in the Holy City.”—The Great Controversy, p. 673.
b. What glorious event crowns the cleansing of the earth? Revelation 21:1.
“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.”—Ibid., p.674.
c. For us today, dwelling still on a planet ridden with suffering and problems, where should we look for our eternal home? 2 Peter 3:13; 1 Corinthians 2:9.
“The most exalted language fails to describe the glory of heaven or the matchless depths of a Saviour’s love.”—Early Writings, p. 289.
“A fear of making the saints’ inheritance seem too material has led many to spiritualize away the very truths which lead us to look upon the new earth as our home. Christ assured His disciples that He went to prepare mansions for them. Those who accept the teachings of God’s Word will not be wholly ignorant concerning the heavenly abode.”—The Story of Redemption, p. 430.
d. What magnificent description does John give us of the new earth? Revelation 21:3, 4; 22:1–5.
“There are ever-flowing streams, clear as crystal, and beside them waving trees cast their shadows upon the paths prepared for the ransomed of the Lord. There the wide-spreading plains swell into hills of beauty, and the mountains of God rear their lofty summits. On those peaceful plains, beside those living streams, God’s people, so long pilgrims and wanderers, shall find a home.”—The Great Controversy, p. 675.
5. EVERLASTING JOY
a. What condition is to be restored on the new earth? Isaiah 35:5–10; 65:25. How is the heavenly life depicted?
“I saw a field of tall grass, most glorious to behold; it was living green and had a reflection of silver and gold, as it waved proudly to the glory of King Jesus. Then we entered a field full of all kinds of beasts—the lion, the lamb, the leopard, and the wolf, all together in perfect union.”—Early Writings, p. 18.
“The fierce will become gentle, and the timid trustful.”—Education, p. 304.
b. Around whom will everything center for all eternity, and how will this be acknowledged? Zechariah 13:6; Revelation 7:15–17; 5:13.
“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.”—The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, p. 489.
“The years of eternity, as they roll, will bring richer and still more glorious revelations of God and of Christ. As knowledge is progressive, so will love, reverence, and happiness increase. The more men learn of God, the greater will be their admiration of His character. . . .
“The great controversy is ended. Sin and sinners are no more. The entire universe is clean. One pulse of harmony and gladness beats through the vast creation. From Him who created all, flow life and light and gladness, throughout the realms of illimitable space. From the minutest atom to the greatest world, all things, animate and inanimate, in their unshadowed beauty and perfect joy, declare that God is love.”—The Great Controversy, p. 678.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Why is it so important to prepare for the soon return of Christ?
2. Clarify the often misunderstood purpose of the millennium.
3. Explain the last ploy of Satan, and why people will be tricked by it.
4. What do we need to realize about life in the earth made new?
5. What is the theme of eternity, and why should we appreciate it now?