Ellen G. White Writings

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The Southern Watchman

March 14, 1905

The Restoration of Eden

Behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.

“But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts.”

As the children of Israel, God's favored people, persisted in rebellion, notwithstanding the warnings and reproofs he had sent them, they were challenged to prepare to meet their God. By his appointed agents the Lord had sent them message after message which they had only despised and rejected, and now they must prepare to meet his retributive judgments. They would not prevail against him; for “lo, He that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declared unto man what is his thought; that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth down the high places of the earth, the God of hosts is his name.” As an offended Judge, the Lord would execute his judgments upon his impenitent people. If they would escape his vengeance, they must humble their hearts, and confess their sins.

Malachi was inspired to give this prophecy not only for the instruction of Israel, but “for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”

With earnest longing, God's people await the tokens of their coming King. As the watchmen are accosted, “What of the night?” the answer is given unfalteringly, “‘The morning cometh, and also the night.’ Light is gleaming upon the clouds above the mountain-tops. Soon there will be a revealing of his glory. The Sun of Righteousness is about to shine forth. The morning and the night are both at hand,—the opening of endless day to the righteous, the settling down of eternal night to the wicked.”

“The redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head; they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.”

“They shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.”

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. “Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof.”

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. The Revelator, after presenting the scenes of the Lord's second coming and the destruction of the wicked, prophesies of Satan's imprisonment, and declares that “he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled; and after that he must be loosed a little season.”

During the thousand years between the first and the second resurrection, the judgment of the wicked takes place. Daniel declares that when the Ancient of days came, “judgment was given to the saints of the Most High.” At this time the righteous reign as kings and priests unto God. John in the Revelation says, “I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them.” “They shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” It is at this time that, as foretold by Paul, “the saints shall judge the world.” 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. Satan also and evil angels are judged by Christ and his people.

At the close of the thousand years the second resurrection will take place. Then the wicked will be raised from the dead, and appear before God for the execution of “the judgment written.” Thus the Revelator, after describing the resurrection of the righteous, says, “The rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.”

The wicked receive their recompense in the earth. “Upon the wicked he shall rain quick burning coals, fire and brimstone, and a horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.” 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 day has come that shall burn as an oven. The elements melt with fervent heat, the earth also, and the works that are therein are burned up. The wicked “shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts.” All are punished “according to their deeds.”

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.

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away.” 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.

Restored to the tree of life in the long-lost Eden, the redeemed will “grow up” to the full stature of the race in its primeval glory. The last lingering trace of the curse of sin will be removed, and Christ's faithful ones will appear “in the beauty of the Lord our God;” in mind and soul and body reflecting the perfect image of their Lord. Oh, wonderful redemption! long talked of, long hoped for, contemplated with eager expectation, but never fully understood.

Mrs. E. G. White

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