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The Truth Shall Make You Free



CHAPTER XXIX

THE THOUSAND-YEAR REIGN

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GLIMPSES of life on earth in the new world of righteousness are graciously given in the Scriptures of truth. After a victory song such as Moses and the Israelites sang on the east shores of the Red sea after Jehovah had engulfed the hosts of Pharaoh in destruction, the "great multitude" of the Lord's "other sheep" will receive instructions what to do. "For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of Jehovah from [the new] Jerusalem; and he will judge between many peoples, and will decide concerning strong nations afar off," at the battle of Armageddon. The Armageddon survivors will convert the instruments of mortal combat of the destroyed nations to purposes glorifying God. "And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig-tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of Jehovah of hosts hath spoken it. For all the peoples walk every one in the name of his god; and we will walk in the name of Jehovah our God for ever and ever." —Micah 4: 2-5, A.R.V.

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The prophecy of Ezekiel, chapters 38 and 39, supply a vivid account of the final, all-out warfare of Satan's organization under his chief spirit-prince Gog against Jehovah's faithful remnant of spiritual Israelites and their companions at Armageddon. With an awe-inspiring demonstration of almighty power the Most High God destroys the wicked spirit and human enemies and vindicates his name. "And my holy name will I make known in the midst of my people Israel; neither will I suffer my holy name to be profaned any more: and the nations shall know that I am Jehovah, the Holy One in Israel." (Ezekiel 39: 7, A.R.V.) Then the prophecy describes how God's surviving people will dispose of the bloodstained combustible instruments of the enemy and will dispose of their bones scattered about and thus cleanse the earth.

The God of righteousness and holiness will no more curse the ground. Paradise will not be restored earth-wide immediately, but the Lord's "other sheep" will go ahead with subduing the earth under divine guidance and blessing. "Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven. Yea, the LORD shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase." "Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us." (Psalms 85:11,12; 67: 6) With no wars to ravage the land the earth will speedily become a Paradise, just as Jesus foretold in his comforting words to the friendly thief on the tree alongside him: "Verily I say

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unto thee this day: With me shalt thou be in Paradise." (Luke 23: 43, Roth.) In this blessed earth under Kingdom rule the "great multitude" of "other sheep" from all nations will enjoy peace and fellowship with the faithful men of old, the princely representatives of the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 8:11; Luke 13: 28, 29) In obedience to the divine mandate these righteous children of "The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace", will marry and bring forth children, not for trouble and death-dealing war, but to fill the earth. They will rear them with complete freedom from fear and "bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord". (Isaiah 65: 20-25; Ephesians 6: 4) There will be no overcrowding of the earth. Just how long the filling of the earth to a comfortable extent will require is not stated. It was 427 years from the Flood to God's covenant with Abraham, and long before that covenant the typical fulfillment of the divine mandate by Noah's sons was accomplished.

The truth concerning the divine mandate was revealed in 1938. Now a question arises respecting those of the Lord's "other sheep" who die before the battle of Armageddon. Many of these in totalitarian Nazi-Fascist lands have died as faithful martyrs for Jehovah's name's sake, and many in other lands have died for other causes, but all standing the test of faithfulness and preserving their integrity toward God and his Theocracy. Will these have a part in the carrying out of the divine mandate in the new world?

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It suggests itself as reasonable that, God having held this hope before them, and they having died faithful and blameless to him, he would not deny them the privilege of the divine mandate. Concerning God's judgment Christ Jesus said: "He gave him authority to execute judgment, because he is a son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour cometh, in which all that are in the tombs shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment." —John 5: 27-29, A.R.V.; Douay.

The faithful witnesses and prophets of ancient time have an early resurrection to life because they have done good and passed judgment with God's approval. Those "other sheep" who since the Lord's coming to the temple for judgment prove their integrity to God and die faithful have likewise "done good" and hence appear to be in line for a "resurrection of life". Since 1918 Christ Jesus on his throne at the temple has been judging the nations and dividing the people as "sheep" and "goats". He pronounces favorable judgment upon the "sheep" and ushers them into life everlasting under the Kingdom. The "other sheep" do not come into judgment with the rest of humankind, who have "done evil". Reasonably, then, such "other sheep" as die faithful under judgment test before Armageddon is fought to the finish will be favored like the faithful men of old and will receive an early resurrection 'unto life' and before

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the divine mandate is completely fulfilled. This will privilege them to share in that joyful hope and service. Such favor to the resurrected "other sheep" will not be contrary to Matthew 22:28-32. It will be no part of the coming forth of the unjust unto a "resurrection of judgment" because such unjust ones have "done evil".

It is written, at Proverbs 10: 7: "The memory of the just is blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot." The place of the rebellious wicked is not in the memory of God, but is in Gehenna, symbolized by the "lake which burneth with fire and brimstone", where Almighty God destroys both their body and soul. (Matthew 10:28, A.R.V., margin; Revelation 21:8) Their everlasting death is not due to condemnation and death inherited from Adam, but is for personal, willful wickedness against God. Hence their death is called "the second death", to distinguish it from that which is inherited. For such reason they are not spoken of as "in the tombs" or "in the graves", which is to say, in the memory of God as having an opportunity for redemption by Christ's blood. They cannot "escape the judgment of Gehenna". (Matthew 23:33, A.R.V., margin) Therefore God will not remember them in the time of "resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust". (Acts 24:15) He will remember the redeemable ones like the thief who, before dying unjust upon the tree, asked that he be remembered by Jesus in the Kingdom.

The divine mandate will be carried out in proof that God's word does not return to him

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void but that his purposes are never frustrated or defeated. Thereafter the rest of the dead in the graves will hear the voice of the King and come forth to the "resurrection of judgment".



The symbolic vision of that resurrection reads: "I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and

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another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell [(margin) death and the grave] delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." —Revelation 20:12-15.

They do not come forth all in a twenty-four-hour day or to a judgment day of twenty-four hours' length. The reign of Christ is a thousand years long, and it provides sufficient time in which to judge them according to the works they perform on earth after awakening out of death. The apostle Peter speaks of the "day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men" and says: "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." (2 Peter 3: 7,8) At that, this judgment day is not as long as one of God's creative days. It comes during the last thousand years of the "seventh day", the day of God's sabbath or rest. —Genesis 2:1-4.

These, that have "done evil" due to being conceived in sin and shapen in iniquity during this present life, will not come forth to a reward, but according to God's mercy through Christ the Ransomer. They will not come forth to take part in the divine mandate, because that will have

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been completed by the Lord's "other sheep". Hence to these the words of Christ Jesus apply, at Luke 20: 34-38. There he says that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob live in the purposes of God, which is proof that there will be a resurrection of them and others. "And Jesus said unto them, The sons of this world marry, and are given in marriage: but they that are accounted worthy to attain to that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: for neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection."  —A.R.V.

This does not mean they attain to immortality. The angels are not immortal, but are subject to Christ Jesus, who has been rewarded with immortality. Man is a "little lower than the angels"; and hence being "equal unto the angels" means that these resurrected humans do not marry. (Psalm 8:5) By obedience and faithfulness during the judgment day they are regenerated by Christ Jesus, "The Everlasting Father." Then God approves and justifies them and grants them the right to everlasting life in the Paradise on earth. Therefore they cannot justly "die any more", because they continue faithful. They attain to "that world", the new world, a "world without end". God guarantees them endless life and protects their right to it. They do not attain unto this justification and life-right till the end of the thousand years of Christ's reign. As it is written: "But the rest of

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the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished." —Revelation 20: 5.

Christ Jesus the King, having been entrusted with the "keys of hell and of death", discharges his responsibility with them. He releases those in hell by awakening the dead, and then upon the worthy and obedient ones he undoes the effects of the death which passed upon all men because of the sin by the one man in Eden. In this way he destroys "death and hell", casting them to their destruction or abolition in the "lake of fire burning with brimstone". "For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." This is by God's power and by God's appointment of him to that mission. (1 Corinthians 15: 25-27) Then the effects of Adam's sin, which brought a heritage of death to his descendants, will have been obliterated completely and for ever. In this respect "there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away". —Revelation 21: 4.

Those who die during or at the end of the thousand-year judgment day will perish, not because of an inheritance of death, but because of self-chosen disobedience and wickedness* and rebellion against Jehovah and his reigning King. When these are executed by Jehovah's righteous Judge Christ Jesus, their deserved destruction in Gehenna will not occasion any sorrow, crying or pain on the part of the righteous ones who support Christ's righteous judg-

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ment. Such rebels experience the "second death", destruction as in a "lake of fire". They do not go down into the hell of which Christ the Judge has the key, but into Gehenna, "everlasting punishment," because the "second death" means everlasting destruction. —Matthew 25:46.

Upon those who come forth "unto a resurrection of judgment" the final judgment test comes at the end of the thousand years. Then "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 up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone". —Revelation 20:7-10.

The thousand years of confinement in the abyss does not reform Satan or cause his salvation. Though his head was bruised by the Seed of God's "woman" at the battle of Armageddon a thousand years previous, he is still defiant toward God and is bent on overturning Jehovah's Theocratic Government, "the beloved city" or "new Jerusalem". The covetous desire for universal domination still moves him to the attack on the Government and its subjects on earth and its princely representatives. During his detention in the abyss the earth has been free of religion or demonism. The truth has had

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full sway on earth, and has made the people free from the bondage of error and of sin, and free from fear and want.

Following his unchangeable tactics, Satan the Devil tries to reintroduce religion on earth and hence goes forth to deceive, to deceive everyone, if possible, to the four corners of the earth. "Grog and Magog" picture a farthermost extremity of the earth. The searching test of integrity will be upon all such, without exception. Those who yield selfishly to the deception, forsaking truth, shall suffer destruction in Gehenna. Those who keep integrity toward God and his "beloved city" will prove that God can put men on earth who remain true and faithful to him under the wily test of Satan the Devil. They receive the gift of the right to everlasting life.

Satan will fail again, and Jehovah God will receive this final vindication. The wicked one will be cast, not into an abyss, but into everlasting destruction in Gehenna, where he and his false and beastly organization will remain in abhorrence "for ever and ever". (Revelation 20:10; Ezekiel 28:19) The righteous One, Jehovah's beloved Son Christ Jesus, shall reign in life immortal and will forevermore reflect the light and glory of his Father to all creatures that live. Truth will have triumphed, and the freedom of the new world will continue undiminished and without end.



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