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Throughout the Bible, no promise is given of a second
chance—a time after our earthly life during which we will be free of Satan’s
temptations and will have another opportunity to give our loyalties to God if
we have not already done so. No, this life is our only chance. “Behold,
now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians
Ellen White describes what happens to the wicked when Christ
comes and takes His people to heaven:
“A noise will come to the ends of the earth—for the Lord has a
controversy with the nations; He will plead His case with all flesh. He will
give those who are wicked to the sword.” Jeremiah 25:31. For six thousand years
the great controversy has been in progress; the Son of God and His heavenly
messengers have been in conflict with the power of the evil one, to warn,
enlighten, and save the children of men. Now all have made their decisions; the
wicked have fully united with Satan in his warfare against God. The time has
come for God to vindicate the authority of His downtrodden law. Now the
controversy is not alone with Satan, but with men. “The Lord has a controversy
with the nations;” “He will give those that are wicked to the sword.”
. . .
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. [See 2 Thessalonians 2:8.] Christ takes His
people to the City of God, and the earth is emptied of its inhabitants.
“Behold, the Lord makes the earth empty and makes it waste, distorts its
surface and scatters abroad its inhabitants.” “The land shall be entirely
emptied and utterly plundered, for the Lord has spoken this word.” “Because
they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting
covenant. Therefore the curse has devoured the earth, and those who dwell in it
are desolate. Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned.” Isaiah 24:1,
3, 5, 6.
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, while vast caverns mark the spot where the mountains have been rent
from their foundations.
The Great Controversy, p. 656-657
For 1,000 years, Satan is now bound in the “bottomless pit,”
as was prophesied in Revelation 20:1-3.
That the expression “bottomless pit” represents the earth in a
state of confusion and darkness is evident from other scriptures. Concerning
the condition of the earth “in the beginning,” the Bible record says that it
“was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep.” Genesis
1:2. [The Hebrew word here translated “deep” is rendered in the Septuagint
(Greek) translation of the Hebrew Old Testament by the same word rendered
“bottomless pit” in Revelation 20:1-3.] Prophecy teaches that it will be
brought back, partially at least, to this condition. Looking forward to the
great day of God, the prophet Jeremiah declares: “I beheld the earth, and
indeed it was without form, and void; and the heavens, they had no light. I
beheld the mountains, and indeed they trembled, and all the hills moved back
and forth. I beheld, and indeed there was no man, and all the birds of the
heavens had fled. I beheld, and indeed the fruitful land was a wilderness, and
all its cities were broken down.” Jeremiah 4:23-26.
Here is to be the home of Satan with his evil angels for a
thousand years. Limited to the earth, he 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.
The Great Controversy, p. 658-659
What are God’s people doing in heaven during this time?
During the thousand years between the first and the second
resurrection the judgment of the wicked takes place. The apostle Paul points to
this judgment as an event that follows the second advent. “Therefore judge
nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the
hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts.” 1 Corinthians
4:5. Daniel declares that when the Ancient of Days came, “judgment was given to
the saints of the Most High.” Daniel 7:22, KJV. At this time the righteous
reign as kings and priests unto God. John in the Revelation says: “I saw
thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them.” “They shall
be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.”
Revelation 20:4, 6. It is at this time that, as foretold by Paul, “the saints
will judge the world.” 1 Corinthians 6:2. In union with Christ they judge the
wicked, comparing their acts with the statute book, the Bible, and deciding
every case according to the deeds done in the body. Then the portion which the
wicked must suffer is meted out, according to their works; and it is recorded
against their names in the book of death.
Satan also and evil angels are judged by Christ and His people.
Says Paul: “Do you not know that we shall judge angels?” Verse 3. And Jude
declares that “the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their
own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the
judgment of the great day.” Jude 6.
The Great Controversy, p. 660-661
At the end of the 1,000 years, God performs his “strange
act” (see Isaiah 28:21)—the destruction of the wicked.
All Scriptures are quoted from the New King James Version,
including those originally quoted by Ellen White from the King James
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