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"Babylon The Great Has Fallen!"
God's Kingdom Rules!



Chapter 29

Messiah's Thousand-Year Reign

Revelation 20

THE battle at the "place that is called in Hebrew Har-Magedon" ends with glorious victory of the "King of kings and Lord of lords" over the seven-headed "wild beast," the "false prophet" and the "kings of the earth and their armies." What about the "dragon, the original serpent, who is the Devil and Satan"? He long ago gave the symbolic wild beast "its power and its throne and great authority," but he has proved unable to help the wild beast, the false prophet and the "kings of the entire inhabited earth" who were gathered to "Har-Magedon" by demonic propaganda like croaking frogs. (Revelation 13:1, 2; 16:13-16; 19:16, 19-21) Thus the Dragon, the Original Serpent, will see his earthly seed destroyed, just as Jehovah God foretold in Genesis 3:15. Their destruction means the end of Satan the Devil's visible, earthly organization. It means the close or finale of the "time of the end" that began when the Gentile Times ran out in the year 1914. (Daniel 12:1, 4; Luke 21: 24) The battle of Har-Magedon being ended on earth, what happens now to Satan the Devil himself and his demon seed?

Years previously, after God's Messianic kingdom was born in the heavens in 1914, Satan the Devil and his demon angels had been cleared out of the holy heavens and "hurled down to the earth." Ever since then this wrathful Dragon and his demons have made it their

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prime business to "wage war with the remaining ones of [the woman's] seed, who observe the commandments of God and have the work of bearing witness to Jesus." — Revelation 12:3-17.

Of course, this remnant yet on earth of the 144,000 have now been joined, particularly since A.D. 1935, by the "great crowd" of other worshipers of Jehovah God. Naturally the wrathful Dragon has engaged in war upon these companion witnesses of Jehovah, so that these too have suffered with the remaining ones of the seed of God's "woman." Till now the Dragon's war upon all these witnesses of Jehovah has failed to destroy them. At Har-Magedon they are the Dragon's main target in the "war of the great day of God the Almighty." Yet they survive under God's protection, and they witness the defeat and destruction of the Dragon's visible seed and earthly system of things. They hail the glorious victor, the Messianic King who is like ancient Melchizedek. Since 1914 he has gone forth subduing, and he crushes all the visible earthly seed of the Dragon. (Psalm 110:1-6) The Dragon must not be left on the loose at the earth to wage further war upon the faithful survivors of the battle of Har-Magedon. The time has come for the peaceful, sabbathlike reign of the Messiah or Christ, foretold in Bible prophecy, to begin.

Now is evidently the time for the Original Serpent to be bruised in the head. How will this be done? John foresees how.

"And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven with the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he seized the dragon, the original serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. And he hurled him into the abyss and shut it and sealed it over him, that he might not mislead the nations any more until the thousand years were ended. After these things he must be let loose for a little while." — Revelation 20:1-3.

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Though the angel with the key comes down out of heaven, he is not said to come to Har-Magedon, as Har-Magedon is in the visible realm but the Original Serpent and his demons are in the invisible realm. He is not named or identified, but, even without an army of angels, he shows himself more powerful than the Serpent, Satan the Devil. Who is this "angel"?

According to Revelation 19:11-21 the King of kings and his armies in heaven battle at Har-Magedon against mere human kings of the earth and their armies and the "wild beast" and "false prophet." After that, is a mere unnamed angel charged with the far mightier task of overpowering the. mighty Satan the Devil and his demons and binding and abyssing them? After God's Messianic kingdom was born in 1914 the archangel Michael and his angels battled with the Dragon and his demon angels and hurled them down to the earth and left them on the loose down here. Is now an unidentifiable angel to win the honor of the more difficult task of binding this Dragon and his demon angels and restraining them in the abyss under a sealed cover? Where, we ask, does the promised Seed of God's "woman" come in on this action? Was he not foretold to be the One to bruise the Serpent in the head and express enmity for the Serpent's seed?

Under the weight of all the scriptures bearing upon the subject, this here unnamed angel must be that promised Seed of God's "woman." He must be the same as the King of kings who destroys first the earthly seed of the Serpent, Satan the Devil. It is no belittling of him to picture him as an angel. The mighty work assigned to him shows him to be an Angel of angels. He is the same as Michael the archangel, who, with his angels, won the war in heaven and hurled the Serpent and his demons down to our earth. — Revelation 12:7-9; 19:16; Genesis 3:15; Daniel 10:21; 12:l; Jude 9; Luke 11:20-22.

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He is the starlike One who has the "key of the pit of the abyss" and who lets loose from it a swarm of pestilential creatures upon men who do not have the seal of God. When on earth as a man, he was entreated by the unclean spirit demons not to be ordered to go then into the abyss. At his death as a perfect man he himself descended into the abyss, but Almighty God raised him out of it on the third day and gave to him the "keys of death and of Hades." Hence he is God's "angel" or "messenger" to bind and hurl Satan the Devil and his demons into the abyss and seal them up there for a whole millennium. — Revelation 9:1-4; 1:18; Luke 8:31; Romans 10:7.

It is not into Hades or Sheol that Satan and his demons are hurled, inasmuch as Hades or Sheol is the common grave of dead humans and is in the ground of our earth. Since Satan and his demons are not human and not earthly, they are hurled into an abyss, not into Hades, Sheol or "hell." The binding and abyssing of Satan and his demons will be something invisible to the eyes of earthly survivors of the "war of the great day of God the Almighty," just as their being cast out of heaven and down to this earth was invisible to us. If we judge from the condition of the murdered Jesus Christ in the abyss, the condition of the chained Satan and his demons in the abyss will be a deathlike one, likely an unconscious state, with no ability to "mislead the nations any more." That will allow for a devil-free order of things over man, for a thousand years.

Measuring by means of the Bible timetable from the first man's creation in the garden of Eden, we are now close to the end of six thousand years from Adam's creation, not to speak of his later fall into sin after the Original Serpent had misled Adam's wife into sin and death. So by adding a thousand years for the approaching reign of the Messiah unopposed by the Original Serpent and his seed, we measure close to the end of seven thousand years from man's creation in Eden.

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Fitly the seventh or last thousand years of this seven-thousand-year period of time becomes like a sabbath.

Since the Original Serpent and his demons are to "be let loose for a little while" at the end of this sabbath millennium, much will have to be done for mankind during the millennium in which the Serpent lies chained in the sealed abyss. Men will have to have their judgment day, the results of which will undergo a final test by the loosing of the Serpent and his demons for that "little while." (John 5:22, 28, 29; Acts 17:31; 2 Peter 3:7, 8) The apostle John sees the beginning of this thousand-year-long judgment day for mankind as he sees the seating of the judges, as follows:

"And I saw thrones, and there were those who sat down on them, and power of judging was given them. Yes, I saw the souls of those executed with the ax for the witness they bore to Jesus and for speaking about God, and those who had worshiped neither the wild beast nor its image and who had not received the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand. And they came to life and ruled as kings with the Christ for a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Happy and holy is anyone having part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no authority, but they will be priests of God and of the Christ, and will rule as kings with him for the thousand years." — Revelation 20:4-6.

Those thrones that John saw must have included twelve thrones for the "twelve apostles of the Lamb," for Jesus had said to John and the other faithful apostles: "In the re-creation, when the Son of man sits down upon his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also yourselves sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." (Matthew 19:28; Luke 22: 28-30) All together, there must have been 144,000 thrones that John saw, one throne for each of those 144,000 whom John saw earlier standing with the

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Lamb on the heavenly Mount Zion. (Revelation 14:1-3; 3:21) Significantly the twenty-four older persons who were pictured as sitting upon thrones in heaven are no more spoken of, not after Revelation 19:4.

In 1 Corinthians 6: 2, 3 the apostle Paul wrote: "Do you not know that the holy ones will judge the world [of mankind]? ... Do you not know that we shall judge angels?" The holy ones are royal judges, on thrones. John's description takes in 144,000 of them.

Since the 144,000 will be "changed" from human life to heavenly life in their resurrection from the dead, John did not say he saw himself among those who sat down on the judgment thrones. He says he saw "souls." Doubtless these souls now included those whom John previously saw "underneath the altar" and who had been "slaughtered because of the word of God and because of the witness work that they used to have." (Revelation 6:9-11) Men had killed their human bodies but had been unable to kill their souls, that is, their right and title to life in God's heavenly kingdom.  — Matthew 10:28.

Not all the 144,000 had been executed with the ax by God's enemies for witnessing to Jesus and God. However, not a single one of them had worshiped the symbolic wild beast, the world system of politics; and, since the formation of the League of Nations and the United Nations, none of them have worshiped the political "image" of the symbolic wild beast. They have not been marked either in head or in hand as slaves of the world system of politics or as worshipers of it. They have not imitated Babylon the Great and committed religious fornication with the political kings or rulers of the earth. They kept out of politics, rendering to Caesar his things and to God his things. (Matthew 22: 21) They have waited for God's kingdom to be established. They all prove faithful until their sacrificial death, and so they need a resurrection out of death.

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John says: "And they came to life and ruled as kings with the Christ." This does not mean that the resurrection of these 144,000 waited till the last one of their number had died in the flesh. It does not mean that they are all resurrected at the same time, at the time for the thousand-year reign of Christ to begin. Revelation 14:13 indicates that a number of the remnant die since the birth of God's Messianic kingdom in 1914 and do not have to sleep in death till Satan the Devil is bound and abyssed for a thousand years after the battle of Har-Magedon. — 1 Corinthians 15:51-54.

Besides that, some of the remnant of the 144,000 survive the binding and abyssing of Satan and his demons and end their earthly career in God's service some time afterward. (2 Peter 3:11-14: Malachi 3:17 to 4:3) As long as they are here on earth after Christ's thousand-year reign begins, they will certainly not glorify themselves or sit on earthly thrones. When finally the surviving remnant die and experience their resurrection, being sown natural bodies and being raised spiritual bodies, then first will they sit down on thrones, heavenly thrones, to reign with Christ.

The main thing is, not that each and every one of the 144,000 reigns exactly a full thousand years with Christ in heaven, but that Christ himself reigns that long. At God's appointed time the members of the 144,000 join Christ in his reign of that length.

Because of its timing and importance, the resurrection of the 144,000 to heavenly life is properly called "the first resurrection." In it they have part in the kind of resurrection that their Leader Jesus Christ experienced. (1 Peter 3:18; Romans 6:3-9; Philippians 3: 9-11; 2 Timothy 2:11, 12) Happy can they be for this.

As they are to be "priests of God and of the Christ," they are a holy class, having access even into the very presence of Jehovah God. Their resurrection is marked by their putting off corruption and mortality and being clothed upon with incorruption and immortality. Hence

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the "second death," symbolized by that "fiery lake that burns with sulphur" into which the wild beast and the false prophet were hurled, has "no authority" over the 144,000. Like Jesus Christ, they can die no more. (Revelation 2:11) Due to their "indestructible life," they can serve as holy priests of God and of Christ to the full end of the thousand years. (Hebrews 7:16) At the same time they will "rule as kings over the earth." — Revelation 5:10.

Note that sentence put in parentheses, namely, "The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended." This might be on a missing page of the fourth-century Greek Vatican Manuscript No. 1209, but is definitely not in the fourth-century Sinaitic Manuscript. Yet it is found in the Greek Alexandrine Manuscript of the fifth century and in the Latin Vulgate, in Revelation 20:5.

When considering those words in parentheses, we must keep in mind the fact that the "great crowd" from all parts of the earth, whom the Lamb of God leads as his "other sheep," will survive the battle of Har-Magedon and the binding and abyssing of Satan the Devil. They will need no resurrection from among people dead in the graves or in the seas. Their surviving the fiery end of the present wicked system of things will not entitle them to life everlasting under God's heavenly kingdom. They will yet have to live through the thousand-year judgment day in faithful obedience to the Kingdom. Then, at the end of the thousand years of Christ's reign, they will have to pass through that "little while" during which Satan and his demons will be loosed from the abyss.

For faithfulness to God during that "little while" of crucial test, they will be justified or declared unchangeably devoted to righteousness. God will reward them with the gift of eternal life by virtue of their proved and maintained righteousness. On receiving this God-given title to eternal life on the earth in a Para-

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dise state, they will really "come to life," from God's viewpoint.

If such is true of the "great crowd" of earthly sheep who survive the end of this wicked system of things but who are not yet given title to eternal life, how much more will it be true of those already dead in the graves and the seas? After they are resurrected from earthly and watery graves, they will also have to undergo the judgment day and pass successfully through the crucial test of their devotion to righteousness when Satan and his demons are loosed from the abyss at the end of the thousand years. They will come to life only when Jehovah God justifies them or declares them righteous and rewards them. (Romans 8:33) Thus it remains true of all persons who win the prize of everlasting life as perfect humans on earth that "the rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended." God's kingdom will not have been in vain.

DESTRUCTION OF SATAN AND HIS DEMONS

The thousand-year reign of the Son of God ends with all earth in a Paradise condition and mankind perfected and everything in subjection to Christ. Everything with respect to our earth is now under his feet, including Satan and the demons who are in the abyss under lid and seal. It is at this point that Jesus Christ "hands over the kingdom to his God and Father."  — 1 Corinthians 15:24.

However, it was not meant for the abyss to be the eternal abiding place of Satan and his demons. By the Messianic kingdom God has had Satan held only in reserve pending his final everlasting destruction. As in the case of "Gog of the land of Magog, the head chieftain of Meshech and Tubal," foretold in Ezekiel's prophecy (38:1 to 39:16). Jehovah God will now turn Satan around and put hooks in his jaws, so to speak, and will lead him inescapably to his own uninterruptible

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everlasting destruction, that thus the controversy over universal sovereignty may be forever settled.

To this end Jehovah God has Satan and his demons released from the abyss, Jehovah well knowing that incorrigible Satan was the one who caused death to invade the human family at its start in the Garden of Eden. Reasonably, Jehovah will have the same "angel" who abyssed Satan and his demons break the seal of the abyss and now let them out, unchain them and put them on the loose at the earth in which the human family has reached its full growth in human perfection. It will be doubtless the same angel who was previously given the "key of the pit of the abyss" and who thus once before opened the abyss, to release those inside. (Revelation 9:1. 2) This "angel" would be the Seed of God's "woman, the Lord Jesus Christ, who chooses to "subject himself to the One who subjected all things to him, that God may be all things to everyone." (1 Corinthians 15:28) With this in mind, we read what John now writes:

"Now as soon as the thousand years have been ended, Satan will be let loose out of his prison, and he will go out to mislead those nations in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war. The number of these is as the sand of the sea. And they advanced over the breadth of the earth and encircled the camp of the holy ones and the beloved city. But fire came down out of heaven and devoured them. And the Devil who was misleading them was hurled into the lake of fire and sulphur, where both the wild beast and the false prophet already were; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever." — Revelation 20:7-10.

By the end of the thousand years, how far will the earth be populated? To its "four corners," in its four quarters, as a result of the resurrection of all the earthly dead from earthy and watery graves. This population may have been contributed to by those

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of the "great crowd" of survivors who marry or are already married and who for some time after the end of this wicked world raise families, as Noah's children did after the global flood. (Genesis 9:1-19) Whether a census will be regularly taken to determine the exact number of earth's inhabitants is very possible as well as probable. But we do not know now how many of these earthly inhabitants the Devil and his demons, when released, will induce to rebel against Jehovah's universal sovereignty, which specially goes into force toward our earth at the end of the millennial reign of God's royal Son Jesus Christ. The Bible gives no number. It is left indefinite like the number of sand grains along the seashore. It will be a considerable number.

It will be a "numerous congregation," like that previously under the "Gog of the land of Magog" foretold in Ezekiel 38:l to 39:16. Because they come from all quarters of the globe and are so many, these human rebels misled by the loosed Satan and his demons are spoken of as Gog and Magog. Another thing that makes the names quite fitting is the fact that the Gog of the land of Magog in Ezekiel's prophecy made his attack upon Jehovah God's prosperous people after their restoration to their homeland. The like thing is true in the case of the Gog and Magog who are gathered together for the war after Satan is loosed. These misled humans make their attack after an Edenic paradise has been restored to earth by God's kingdom. The attack is made after all living mankind have been uplifted to the human perfection and god-likeness that Adam and Eve had in their Paradise, the Garden of Eden. In Revelation 20:8 Gog and Magog are spoken of as "those nations in the four corners of the earth." This would suggest that they have rebelled and have set themselves up as independent nations far away from Jehovah God and his central organization.

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From their distant location and under the Devil's invisible leadership, these rebels bearing the hated names of Gog and Magog advance "over the breadth of the earth" and encircle the "camp of the holy ones and the beloved city." All those perfected humans in the Paradise earth who want to keep their holiness toward Jehovah God are thus put under attack. It becomes a great test of their faith and devotion toward him. These holy ones are then like an army encamped in the field and that is encircled by the attackers.

The expression "the beloved city" refers to Zion or Jerusalem, the heavenly city composed of those who had part in the first resurrection and who reign with Christ a thousand years. (Psalm 87:2, 3; Isaiah 49: 14-16) It is therefore against God's capital organization that the final revolt of Gog and Magog under the Devil's leadership is directed. The thousand years of time assigned to Christ's kingdom have now ended and the next thing that he does is to turn the kingdom over to his heavenly Father, "the King of eternity." So after this changing-over period the revolt occurs. The decisive issue is that of everlasting submission to Jehovah's universal sovereignty. As the Original Serpent, Satan the Devil, caused the perfect man Adam's fall over this same issue, so at the end of the thousand years of Christ's reign Satan will mislead some of perfected mankind over this same issue. However, the truly holy ones stay faithful to the "beloved city" and are willing for Jehovah God to rule over them as the Universal Sovereign. They look to him for deliverance.

At the height of this test of love and devotion to Jehovah God and his Messianic King the danger seems greatest. Yet then deliverance comes to the faithful holy ones. Fiery destruction pours down from God's heavenly realm upon the rebellious hosts of Gog and Magog and devours them. It does not preserve and

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torment them. It annihilates them forever. But what of their invisible leader?

Satan the Devil is hurled with his demon seed into the symbolic "lake of fire and sulphur," evidently by the royal Seed of God's "woman," that is, by the King Jesus Christ. That is where the symbolic wild beast and false prophet were hurled a thousand years earlier at the battle of Har-Magedon; and they have never got out. Now the Devil joins them there. Thus Jesus Christ, the Seed of God's "woman," finally crushes the Serpent's head. (Genesis 3:15) The triumphant King has had the keys of death and of Hades and of the abyss, but he has no key for this "lake of fire and sulphur." He never lets the symbolic wild beast and false prophet and Satan the Devil out of the fiery, sulphurous lake. That is why it is said that there "they will be tormented day and night forever and ever." (Revelation 20:10) Sentence of them to destruction is eternal.

EARTHLY RESURRECTION

That is the last time that the apostle John sees the "dragon, the original serpent, who is the Devil and Satan," in the revelation to him, and that is the last time that this wicked one is mentioned. Having got onto the subject of how he and his demons are to be disposed of, the Revelation concentrates on them for the thousand years, without turning aside to consider other contemporaneous things. After the Revelation finishes with the Original Serpent and his wicked seed of offspring, it moves back to the beginning of the thousand years to note other important things that take place from then forward. As from that point of time John writes:

"And I saw a great white throne and the one seated on it. From before him the earth and the heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before

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the throne, and scrolls were opened. But another scroll was opened; it is the scroll of life. And the dead were judged out of those things written in the scrolls according to their deeds. And the sea gave up those dead in it, and death and Hades gave up those dead in them, and they were judged individually according to their deeds. And death and Hades were hurled into the lake of fire. This means the second death, the lake of fire. Furthermore, whoever was not found written in the book of life was hurled into the lake of fire."  — Revelation 20:11-15.

The revelation to John thus turns to a consideration of the "rest of the dead" mentioned, in passing, in Revelation 20: 5 The 144,000 who took part in the "first resurrection" are not included in the judgment here described. Rather, the "power of judging" was given to those 144,000 who reign with Jesus Christ. The "great white throne" before which the earthly dead stand is the pure and righteous judgment seat of "God the Judge of all." (Hebrews 12:23) He is the One seen seated on it. From before his face the symbolic earth and heaven flee away. Flee when? At the time that the King of kings destroys the earthly "wild beast" and the "false prophet" and the kings and their armies at Har-Magedon and immediately afterward chains and abysses the "wicked spirit forces in the heavenly places," namely, Satan the Devil and his demons. Such symbolic earth and heaven will never again be established, for, as we have just seen, the "wild beast," the "false prophet" and eventually the Devil are hurled into the "lake of fire and sulphur" for annihilation.

The thousand-year judgment day under Christ the King follows, as God has appointed him to do the judging. (Acts 17:31; 10-42; Romans 14:9-12) For those who are dead in a watery or an earthly grave there has to be a resurrection. That is why John saw in vision the sea giving up those who had gone down

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into death in it and also Hades (the Hebrew Sheol) giving up the dead in it. Hades is the common grave of dead mankind in the earth. These dead are remembered and resurrected to the opportunities of the righteous judgment day. — John 5:22-29.

What about the "great crowd" of sheeplike people who do not die and get buried or drowned but who survive the end of this old world, that is to say, the fleeing away of the symbolic earth and heaven? While these remain alive and do not need to be called out of any grave, still they have inherited death from our first human father, the sinful Adam, so that they were all born sinful. (Romans 5:12) If left to themselves and not relieved of this condemnation to death, they would die off in course of time and need a burial.

From this standpoint they, and also those resurrected from the sea and from Hades, are still in death, or under condemnation of death as inherited from sinful Adam, and they need to be brought out of this condition. How will they be rid of this death-dealing state? By the priestly work of the great King, Jesus Christ.

He is a priest like Melchizedek of ancient Salem. (Psalm 110:1-4; Hebrews 5:5, 6, 10; 6:20 to 7:17) He is Jehovah's High Priest, and the 144,000 are underpriests, which fact is why it was said that "they will be priests of God and of the Christ, and will rule as kings with him for the thousand years."  — Revelation 20: 6.

The procedure of Jehovah's High Priest now corresponds with that of Israel's high priest Aaron on the annual Day of Atonement, when he entered into the Most Holy of the sacred tabernacle to present to God the blood of the sacrificial goat that was shed for all twelve tribes of Israel. — Leviticus16:15; Hebrews 13:11, 12.

Because of this the dead ones standing before the judgment throne can exercise faith and have that precious blood of Christ's sacrifice applied for them

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and so be relieved of condemnation. In this way they have the opportunity of eternal life set before them, and Christ's priestly kingdom is then ruling to help them to gain it. They will thus not be judged according to their past deeds in this life during this world, although those past deeds may at first affect their abilities in Jehovah's new order of things.

The "scrolls" that the apostle John saw opened are not the record of the past earthly life of the people standing before the judgment throne, but are the law books of Jehovah. That is, they are the publications setting forth his will for all people on earth during Christ's millennial reign. After what is written in these law "scrolls" has been published and made known, the people will be judged by what laws and instructions are found written in those scrolls "according to their deeds," not their deeds committed in this life or before the scrolls were published, but their deeds afterward as long as they are on judgment.

All through the judgment day of a thousand years Jehovah's Judge, Jesus Christ, can execute the sentence of destruction on any human proving himself incorrigible. But by this judgment day all men will have the opportunity to learn righteousness. (Isaiah 26: 9; 2 Peter 3:8) Even if they prove obedient and learn righteousness during the thousand-year judgment day of Christ, they will yet have to pass the final test of unswerving devotion to Jehovah's universal sovereignty after the thousand years are ended, at which time Satan and his demons will be loosed. Then they will stand without benefit of an intermediary before the One seated on the "great white throne," hence on their own responsibility. If they pass this decisive test with faithful obedience to Jehovah God the Universal Sovereign, first then will he as the Supreme Judge of all write their names in the "scroll of life," thus authorizing them to enjoy perfect human life forever in the Paradise earth.

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Here Jehovah's "scroll of life" is different from the "Lamb's scroll of life," in which the names of the 144,000 are written as being worthy to enjoy immortal life forever with the Lamb of God in heaven.  — Revelation 3:5; 13:8; 21:27.

During this judgment day the time will come when the resurrection will stop. That will be when the sea and Hades will have given up the last of the dead people in them. Likewise the Adamic death, that is, the death that resulted to all mankind from Adam's original sin, will cease. It will cease when it gives up the dead in it, that is, those having any trace of the inherited effects of Adam's sin in them. This will be, not when they have had the cleansing merit of Christ's sacrifice applied to them with the forgiveness of their confessed sins, but when mental and physical imperfection and weakness have been worked out of them and they stand in the human perfection that the innocent Adam and Eve originally had in Eden. Then mankind will be able to obey all God's law, including the "things written in the scrolls," with perfect obedience.

All that means the eternal destruction of Hades, Sheol or the common grave of dead mankind, also the eternal destruction of the death we inherited from sinful Adam. This was what was pictured when the apostle John saw death and Hades "hurled into the lake of fire." This means the eternal death of the Adamic death and of Hades, for John goes on to explain: "This means the second death, the lake of fire." Hence this symbolic "lake of fire" is not the same as Hades or the Adamic death that we inherited. "The lake of fire" pictures absolute destruction, as complete and lasting as if it were accomplished by fire mixed with sulphur. Hades and death will not be consciously tormented in the "lake of fire" any more than the symbolic wild beast and false prophet and Satan the Devil will be.

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Long ago in the Gehenna or rubbish dump outside the walls of ancient Jerusalem the city trash, including dead bodies of despised criminals, used to be destroyed by fire and sulphur. (Matthew 10:28; Mark 9:43, 48) As if pitched into Gehenna, Adamic death and Hades or Sheol ("hell") will be destroyed forever. This will occur before Satan is loosed from the abyss at the end of the thousand years.

At that time, with all living mankind perfected and having the complete ability to obey God's law perfectly, all will be put through their final and decisive test. If they then let the loosed Devil mislead them, it will be because they let a bad heart condition develop in them, as Eve and Adam did away back in Eden.

Those who do not pass the test but who are misled into willful rebellion will commit the sin against the holy spirit of God, the sin that incurs destruction. Their names will not be written in the "scroll of life"; their names will not be "found written in the book of life." Not being recorded there, those willful sinners are "hurled into the lake of fire," to join Satan the Devil and the demons there in endless destruction. They are wiped completely out of existence as the Adamic death and Hades (Sheol) are. (Matthew 12: 31. 32: 1 John 5:16. 17) "The very name of the wicked ones will rot." (Proverbs 10:7) But, O joy! those whose names are found written in the book of life will be preserved alive in the glorious earthly Paradise free from all rebels and wicked ones. When God registers them by name in the "book of life," it will mean that God declares them perfectly righteous in heart, mind and body and thus worthy of eternal life on the Paradise earth. He is now certain of their everlasting faithfulness, with no liability of their revolting against him. In their case it becomes true, "God is the One who declares them righteous," justifies them to everlasting life. — Romans 8:33.



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