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God will be absolutely cleared of Devil and demons; “ that they shall deceive the nations no more."

The prophetic picture of the divine court proceedings is very specific: we have the exact length of the prison sentence—one thousand years. When we remember the crimes, unnumbered crimes, the sentence seems to be an example of court leniency. But this is only a “ binding over," as it were, to the real trial and judgment yet to come. This will be temporary imprisonment; but oh, it will be such a glad, happy day. The vision of Isaiah, thirty-fifth chapter, will be literally fulfilled. The sceptre so long in the hand of a traitor-usurper—will pass into the hand of the Prince of Peace. Yes, we will strengthen our weak hands and confirm our feeble knees—Satan at last

We shall witness with joy unspeakable and full of glory—“the Restoration of All Things." “ And the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” Thank God forever.

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XXXIV

THE FINAL CONSUMMATION

“ And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever."

—Revelation xt. 10. AFTER the long term of imprisonment shall have ended, we are told that Satan shall be loosed out of his prison for a season.

This is difficult to explain ; but we do not presume to question the administration of God's government: “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?" Satan, like many other confirmed, apostate criminals, immediately on being released, plunges more deeply into crime than before. The long term of imprisonment and punishment hardens and, if possible, more nearly consumes him with wrath.

At once he launches another world-wide campaign of deception, gathering, rallying, mustering, and drilling his forces: those who by an exercise of free choice, notwithstanding the glorious millennium reign, actually fall away and enlist under the black pirate flag once more. He encompasses the whole face of the earth; like a deposed crown prince, he leads an aggressive warfare to regain the honours and influence which he so long enjoyed on the earth.

Now if the binding of Satan is only a figure of the leavening power of righteousness overpowering the evil-what is the thing which shall be unchained and loosened? Such a contention is as unanswerable as it is untenable. We will repeat once more, with each word underscored: Good or Evil cannot exist except in a Personality. The same school of theologians who deny the personality of Satan, many of them, see nothing in the Person of Christ except a Christ spirit, inherent good, etc.; all of which is unadulterated infidelity. Just another method of “ blasting at the Rock of Ages.”

Satan shall be locked in a prison for one thousand years—then he shall be loosed, and every moment of his freedom will be occupied in preparation for the last Armageddon. He does not foresee future events, and it is possible he does not understand this to be his final struggle ; otherwise he would be unable to inspire such a following. As we read this brief but vivid picture of the Gog and Magog engagement, the marshalling and shifting for position of Napoleon and Wellington, preparatory to their decisive battle, in comparison to this gathering, will be like a cadet sham engagement. It seems that the lines of fortification will reach out over the entire earth, mobilizing around the Holy City. The saints, also, are gathered into encampment; whether for preparation to meet the forces of Satan, or for protection, the prophecy does not state; but all the powers of light and darkness are brought face to face.

The battle never reaches a real encounter; the impudence and rebellion of the deposed prince and exconvict arouses the wrath of God as never before.

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The cup of His indignation is full to the overflowing, and He brings the fearful conflict to a spectacular ending. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was a microscopic event compared with the rain of fire that shall fall in consuming vengeance upon the Devil and his followers, both men and demons. The saints shall be delivered in that awful hour, and this is the last shifting of the scene; the bell will ring, as it were, and the curtain will fall, closing out the long tragic history of the old world.

We are not dogmatic as to the chronological order of these mighty events, but as closely as we can gather them from the Word, the next move of these wonders in heaven and in earth will be the ushering in of the Last Judgment. The Deis Ira breaks in upon the universe; the Great White Throne will swing into view. During the vision of millennial vision, its reign-John saw “ thrones ”; Christ and His Church ruling jointly the kingdoms of earth; He then is the Chief Shepherd, the King of kings and Lord of lords—holding the sceptre of universal empire. But now when the Deis Ira dawns, there will be just One Throne, and God Himself will sit

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If the reader wishes a detailed description of this Last Day, it can be found in the sixth chapter of Revelation, where the whole programme is thrown into a composite picture: “The Opening of the Seven Seals.” Each seal is a separate prophecy or act of events from Alpha to Omega of things. Language breaks all bounds of rhetoric, poetry, and definition: “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and lo, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became as black as the sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood, and the stars of the heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.”

Note the effect this marvellous demonstration will have upon the followers of the traitor-prince: “And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the rocks and the mountains, fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of His wrath has come; and who shall be able to stand.

All the souls that have lived on the earth, good and bad, saints and sinners, Devil and demons, will stand before the Throne and be judged. The words, thoughts, and deeds of men and devils shall be made known. The final doom of the Devil and his angels will be shown up in detail before an assembled universe: the Godhead, angels, archangels, cherubim and seraphim, and all that have lived upon this planet. Hence, the last and final scene of the Epilogue: “ And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone

and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever." Amen and Amen.

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