THE BASF - ITS IMPORTANCE AND TEACHING
“That at the close of the thousand years, there will be a general resurrection and judgment, resulting in the final extinction of the wicked, and the immortalization of those who shall have established their title (under the grace of God) to eternal life during the thousand years” (Revelation 20:11-15; 1 Corinthians 15:24).
In our previous studies of this section of the Birmingham Amended Statement of Faith (BASF), we have considered various aspects of the coming Kingdom, and it’s establishment upon the earth. In this study, we focus more particularly on what will take place at the close of the 1000 years of Messiah’s Rule. It is revealed that end of the Millennial age will be marked by a final rebellion of the Flesh against the ways of the Spirit:
“And when the thousand years are expired, 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” (Rev 20:7,9).
So it will be, that after 1,000 years of restraint, the bonds of Divine Rule (Ps 2:3) shall be relaxed, and “satan”, the diabolos, or “sin in the flesh”, will be permitted to assert itself once more, in rebellion against the imposed dominion of Christ.
There are those who question how it could be, that after 1,000 years of experiencing the blessings of the Millennial age, that mortals would want to rebel – but such do not take into account the perversity of the human condition. There is, as part of man’s physical make up, a law of his being, styled apostolically, “sin”, or “sin that dwelleth in me” (Rom 7:17), which when unrestrained, leads all it’s possessors into transgression. And as this principle, or “law”, resident in human flesh (Rom 8:3) can only be removed by death (Rom 6:7, 1Pet 4:1), or transformation to Immortality (Phil 3:21, 1Jno 3:2) it will remain within the mortal populace, albeit under the suppression of Divine Law and it’s rigorous enforcement. But once the pressure is released, at the termination of the 1,000 year period of restraint, it will be permitted to exert itself once more, leading it’s possessors into rebellion against the immortal rulers.
As Bro Thomas wrote:
“If the apostle felt the workings of “the law of sin” within him, though obedient to “the law of the spirit of life”; need we wonder that the same “law of nature” should gather force in the hearts of nations subdued by fire and sword to the sovereignty of Israel’s King? Man, unrenewed man is essentially ungrateful and rebellious. The whole history of his race attests it. A thousand years of peace and blessedness will fail to bind him, by the bonds of love and a willing fealty, to the glorious and benevolent, yet just and powerful emancipator and enlightener of the world”
(Elpis Israel, p455).
So it will be, that the King will permit the Adversary (the diabolos, or Sin) to muster an innumerable company for his army, and march them against “the camp of the saints, and the beloved city” of Jerusalem, in a vain effort to depose the Son of the Most High God, and his brethren, and re-establish a kingdom based upon sinful principles of wickedness.
“But fallacious will be the hopes of the rebel multitude, and dreadful the vengeance to burst upon them. The trembling earth and the blackening heavens warn them of a coming tempest. The dark vapours and thick clouds of the sky, curling in dense and lowering masses, suddenly hiss forth the forked lightening, and the heaven is rent by the deafening roar of the voice of God. Hail, and fire mingle with hail, pour down upon them, and they are destroyed from the face of the land. Thus God will deliver his King; for “fire shall come down from God out of heaven, and shall devour them”
(Elpis Israel, p456).
After the final insurrection of Sin’s Flesh against the Spirit, the Spirit shall prevail, and the final enemy, even death itself shall be ultimately destroyed. The mortals who lived during the Age of Righteousness, whose names are found written in the book of life (Rev 20:12-15), shall be rewarded with glory and immortality. And “then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death … then shall the son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all” (1Cor 15:24-26,28).
THE PROPHECY OF DANIEL
There is an aspect of these events portrayed in Daniel’s prophecy, which I would like to consider more fully. Daniel chapter 7 recounts the judgments to come upon the beast-nations:
“I beheld, even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time” (Dan. 7:11-12).
Notice these points:
- The Fourth beast is “destroyed”
- However, the other beasts are permitted to exist
- Their lives being prolonged for a season and a time.
Of course, the four beasts of Daniel chapter 7 match the 4 elements of Nebuchadnezzar’s Image as described in Daniel chapter 2. But there is a significant difference in what we are told in each chapter. Although in chapter 2, judgments are also spoken of, they are not the same as chapter 7:
“thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth” (Dan. 2:34-35).
Notice here, the metal nations are all broken to pieces. They were blown away, that “no place was found for them”. How does this match the description of Daniel 7, where the same nations are portrayed as being permitted to exist, with their lives “prolonged”? One record teaches they will be utterly destroyed, whereas the other permits their existence, albeit subject to the authority of Christ.
Notice also, that in Daniel 2, the “iron and clay” peoples are judged twice, firstly when the stone “breaks to pieces” the iron and clay feet, and then secondly, along with the other nations again being broken to pieces, and blown away, as there is “no place found for them”.
TWO PERIODS OF JUDGMENT
The answer to the apparent discrepancy seems to lie in the fact that there are fundamentally 2 stages in the judicial establishment of righteousness in the earth, either side of the Master’s Millennial Reign: one at Messiah’s appearing, and the other in response to a confederacy seeking to overthrow the encampment of the saints. Daniel chapter 7 describes how the subject-nations shall exist in the Millennium, whereas Daniel 2 describes both judgments (1000 years apart) in a single verse. At “the end” of the 1000 year reign, the rebellion of man shall be subdued, and all of the earth filled with the glory of Yahweh even as the waters cover the sea.
1 Corinthians chapter 15 as cited in the BASF, describes the work of Messiah during the Millennium, and what shall take place at “the end”:
“Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (1 Cor. 15:24-26).
Notice, the kingdom is not delivered up to the Father until “all rule and all authority and power” is put down in subjection to the Divine Will. This is the work of the Millennium: to establish divine rule upon the earth, and suppress the wiles of the flesh. The Millennium stands as a transitional between flesh and spirit, preparing the earth for the ultimate manifestation of Spirit, when the Father shall dwell unveiled with His People.
Bro Robert Roberts wrote thus:
“It will thus be seen that the kingdom of the thousand years is but a transitional period between the purely animal and purely spiritual ages. It will blend the elements of both. It will exhibit the perfection of the eternal ages in the Lord Jesus and the saints who will be immortal and incorruptible, and the imperfection of the human age in the mortal population who will constitute the subjects of their rule. Both will co-exist for a thousand years, and will constitute a state of things as superior to the present dispensation as it will be inferior to the glory ages beyond. The kingdom of God will lead us by a bridge of a thousand years from the age of sin and death defection to the age of restoration to the bosom of the Deity, in righteousness and life eternal”.
Revelation chapter 20 describes the second sitting of Messiah’s Judgment-Seat:
“and I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away: and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and 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” (Rev. 10:11-12).
Notice the emboldened phrase – “There was found no place for them”. This is a direct quotation from Daniel 2:35, cited earlier, and the Spirit’s application of this phrase to the second judgment further supports our conclusion that Daniel 2 carries us beyond the first set of judgment when Messiah comes, to the completion of those judgments, when there shall be no place found for the things of the Flesh.
In exercising our minds with such things, we ought not do so simply to accrue knowledge, but to obtain Wisdom, and Understanding, that we might know to do Yahweh’s will. In our age, particularly in academic circles, there is the constant effort to be “objective”, and detached in our approach to the Word. But rather, in following after Messiah, as “The Wisdom of God”, we must instead permit the Word to draw us into itself, and we it. Messiah was “the Word Made Flesh”, and although we will never attain to such a thing this side of immortality, nevertheless, it is something we should endeavour to be, that we might become co-possessors of the Kingdom to come.