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Bible Correspondence Course - Lesson 30
Bible Correspondence Course - Lesson 30
When the Whole World Will Be Called

Only after Christ returns to earth and deposes Satan will the great spiritual harvest of humans begin.

GOD is not in competition with Satan! He is not trying to save the whole world now!

Long ago Jesus Christ announced that His message, the good news of the Kingdom of God, would be preached in this age merely as a witness to all nations – not to convert them (Matt. 24:14).

When God sets His hand to save the world, He will save it!

When the World Will Be Saved

God's seven annual festivals picture the steps in God's Master Plan of salvation for all mankind.

The first three festivals, which occur during the spring in the Northern Hemisphere, picture great events leading to the first spiritual harvest of

Spirit-begotten human beings into God's Family.

From previous lessons we learned that the Passover is a memorial of Christ's sacrifice for our sins. The Feast of Unleavened Bread pictures our putting sin away and our constant need to obey God. Pentecost pictures the spiritual begettal and the maturing of the firstfruits of God's plan.

Then, during the fall in the Northern Hemisphere, come the last four festivals. They portray tremendous events yet to occur in God's plan. The Feast of Trumpets, the first of these four, pictures the return of Jesus Christ to raise the firstfruits to immortality and to set up God's government on earth. The Day of Atonement pictures the deposing, removal and binding of Satan for 1,000 years. With Satan's sinful influence gone, mankind can then be reconciled – made at one – with God.

Then 1,000 years of peace and prosperity will follow. Those who are the firstfruits of God's spiritual harvest – first born into God's Family and co-inheritors with Jesus Christ – will join Him in ruling the earth. The Spirit-born saints will be given the opportunity of bringing the spiritual knowledge of salvation to every human then alive and to those born during the Millennium.

This happy Millennium is pictured by the Feast of Tabernacles – the sixth of God's seven annual festivals picturing His plan of salvation.

Early Theologians Acknowledged the Millennium

The New Testament Church taught the meaning and observance of God's festivals and Holy Days throughout the Roman Empire. Even many in the early Christianity that fell away from the truth retained for some time the doctrine of the Millennium – the 1,000-year rule of Christ and the Spirit-born saints (Rev. 20:1-6). The fact of the Millennium was commented on for hundreds of years – long after the death of the apostles.

Notice the testimony from the writings of theologians of the second and third centuries:

In the second century, Papias of Hierapolis (in Asia Minor) is quoted as having said: “There would be a certain millennium after the resurrection, and that there would be a corporeal reign of Christ on this very earth” (Ecclesiastical History, Eusebius, translated by Isaac Boyle, book 3, chapter 39).

Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons, France, wrote in the latter half of the second century: “For in as many days as this world was made, in so many thousand years it reaches its consummation.”

Then, after quoting several Old Testament passages referring to the Millennium, he continues: “All such things refer not to heavenly matters, but to the times of the kingdom, when the earth has been restored by Christ” (Against the Heresies, translated by F. R. Montgomery Hitchcock, book 5, chapters 28, 35).

The early third century produced the same testimony. From Carthage, North Africa, Tertullian acknowledged the possibility of a promised Millennium on the earth (Against Marcion, book 3, chapter 25). Later writers, too, could be cited.

Truth Later Rejected

In the fourth century the book of Revelation was removed from the general reading list of the established Christian church. Why? Because it plainly referred to the Millennium. “Thus the troublesome foundation on which chiliasm [a Greek word for the doctrine of the Millennium] might have continued to build was got rid of” (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th edition, article "Millennium )

Writing about this period of time, Edward Gibbon, in his book The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, states: “The doctrine of Christ's reign upon earth was… considered by degrees as a doubtful and useless opinion, and was at length rejected [by false Christianity] as the absurd invention of heresy and fanaticism” (chapter 15).

During and after the reign of Emperor Constantine, who ruled from A.D. 306-337, leaders in the established Christian church began to look upon the Roman Empire as the Kingdom of God. They began to view the millennial rule of Jesus Christ as having already begun!

Some professing Christian leaders of the 20th century have even gone so far as to claim that the doctrine of the millennial rule of Christ is not to be found in either the New Testament gospels or epistles, or even in the traditions of the apostles (The Question Box, William N. Emch, p. 380).

But, now, let's turn to the Bible, the source of truth, and learn what it reveals about the Millennium, as pictured by the Feast of Tabernacles