7. The Millennium in relation to Sin.
In spite of the fact that Satan will have
been removed from the earth, and that Christ reigns in person over it, yet
conditions here will not be perfect even in the Millennium. Unregenerate human
nature will remain unchanged. Sin will still be present, though much of its
outward manifestation will be restrained. Discontent and wickedness will not
be eradicated from the hearts of men, but will be kept beneath the surface by
means of the Iron Rod. Multitudes will yield to Christ nothing but a
"feigned obedience" (Ps. 18:44, margin). This "feigned obedience" will
be the product of power not grace; it will be the fruit of fear not love. In
Psalm 72, which gives a graphic picture of millennial conditions, we read,
"They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before Him; and His enemies
shall lick the dust" (vs.9). Again, we are told in Psalm 110:2 that the Lord
shall rule in the midst of "enemies." In Psalm 149, wherein the children of
Zion are bidden to "be joyful in their King," we are told that His saints shall
"execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; To bind
their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; To execute
upon them the judgment written: this honor have all His saints. Praise ye the
Lord" (vss. 7-9). In Micah 5, where we have another description of the
judgments which the remnant of Jacob will execute upon the Gentiles, we are
told, "And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people, as a lion
among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who,
if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can
deliver. Thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine
enemies shall be cut off" (vss. 8-10). These verses do not conflict with those
Scriptures which speak of great blessings, spiritual as well as temporal,
coming upon the Gentiles during the Millennium, but warn us that the Kingdom
age is not the Perfect State, and that while most if not all will worship
outwardly, yet at heart many are still the enemies of the Lord.
At the close of the Millennium Satan will be
temporarily released from his prison in order to test humanity: "And 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 they went upon the breadth of the earth, and
compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city" (Rev. 20:7-9).
Thus will be fully and finally demonstrated the incurable evil of the human
heart. Even a thousand years of millennial blessedness, with Satan away from
the earth, will not effect any change in man. Let Satan be loosed and allowed
to go forth once more and deceive the nations, and it shall be seen that the
carnal mind is still enmity against God, and prefers a Murderer to the Lord
Jesus. Nothing avails short of a new creation. Miracles, a beneficent
environment, temporal blessings - nothing without, can alter fallen and
depraved human nature. "Except a man be born of water (the Word) and of the
Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God" (John 3:5).
The final revolt of man under the leadership of
the Devil will meet with swift judgment - "And fire came down from God out of
heaven and devoured them" (Rev. 20:9). What follows is told us in few words.
Satan himself is cast into the Lake of Fire where the Beast and the False
Prophet are, and all of the unsaved dead from Cain onwards will be raised from
their graves, to stand before the great white Throne and be judged according to
their works. The purpose of this judgment is to determine their respective
sentences, for there will be degrees of punishment among the lost, as there
will be degrees of glory among the redeemed. "And whosoever was not found
written in the book of life was cast into the Lake of Fire" (Rev. 20:15). Oh,
my reader, is your name written in the book of life? If it is not, there is
nothing before you but a hopeless and endless eternity of suffering, of
suffering so fearful that no human pen or tongue can adequately depict it.
"And whosoever was not found written in the book
of life was cast into the Lake of Fire." Unsaved reader, what an awful
prospect is thing! The day of reckoning fast hastens on. God is yet going to
call you to account and take full satisfaction to His justice. Long have you
defied Him, but soon He will put forth His power and deal with you in judgment.
What He has threatened that will He most surely perform. The Lake of Fire!
Eternal suffering! Tormented day and night for ever and ever! Such a portion
will be unendurable, and yet it will have to be a endured by every
Christ-rejector, and endured for ever and ever. "Can thine heart
endure, or can thine hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee?
I the Lord have spoken it, and will do it" (Ezek. 22:14).
Following the great white Throne judgment and the
casting of the host into the Lake of Fire, Christ will deliver up the kingdom
to God, even the Father, "when He shall have put down all rule, and all
authority, and power. For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under
His feet. And when all things 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. 15:24,25,28; and see further Rev. 21:1-5).