“In the typical service the high priest, having made the atonement for Israel, came forth and blessed the congregation. So Christ, at the close of His work as mediator, will appear, ‘without sin unto salvation’ (Hebrews 9:28), to bless His waiting people with eternal life. As the priest, in removing the sins from the sanctuary, confessed them upon the head of the scapegoat, so Christ will place all these sins upon Satan, the originator and instigator of sin. The scapegoat, bearing the sins of Israel, was sent away ‘unto a land not inhabited’ (Leviticus 16:22); so Satan, bearing the guilt of all the sins which he has caused God’s people to commit, will be for a thousand years confined to the earth, which will then be desolate, without inhabitant, and he will at last suffer the full penalty of sin in the fires that shall destroy all the wicked.” – Ellen G. White,The Great Controversy, pp. 485, 486.
“A fear of making the future inheritance seem too material has led many to spiritualize away the very truths which lead us to look upon it as our home. Christ assured His disciples that He went to prepare mansions for them in the Father’s house. Those who accept the teachings of God’s word will not be wholly ignorant concerning the heavenly abode. . . . Human language is inadequate to describe the reward of the righteous. It will be known only to those who behold it. No finite mind can comprehend the glory of the Paradise of God.” – Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, pp. 674, 675.
- There are three basic positions (with some variations) regarding the millennium within the Christian church: (i) that it represents the era between the first and second advents of Christ; (ii) that it is a long period of peace and righteousness on earth before Christ appears, brought about in part because of the preaching of the gospel and social reforms; and (iii) that the millennium, a period of 1,000 years, will take place after Christ’s return and it will happen in heaven. Seventh-day Adventists, as we have seen, take the third position, with the millennium unfolding in heaven, not on earth (as some erroneously believe). What problems do the other options present?
- Read Revelation 21:27. What do you understand about this exclusion from the New Jerusalem? What other exclusions are there, and why?
- Dwell on the idea of human attempts to create ‘utopias’. What examples can you think of? What were the results? Why have they always failed, and why do these failures reveal to us our utter dependency upon God’s supernatural intervention in our world?