God's Plan for Eternal PeaceSearch the Word | Vol. 25 No. 1 | Nov-Dec 2014
When sin is eradicated, there will be no more war, violence, killing, or strife.
The Ebola virus has the world in a panic. There is currently no known cure, and it carries a nearly 50 percent fatality rate. As of October 5, 2014, an estimated 8,033 people had been infected with Ebola, and 3,879 had died.1
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts that Ebola infections could reach a staggering 1 million by the end of 2014, with a mortality rate approaching 71 percent. Because of its rapid increase and global reach, the UN Security Council views the Ebola outbreak as a threat to world peace.
Three West African nations are at the center of the epidemic, yet no nation can afford to not be concerned. Travelers from these nations are still arriving at many airports of the world. One such recent traveler to Dallas, Texas, with Ebola symptoms was rushed to the hospital not long after he arrived. He died a week later on October 8, 2015.
Foreign news reporters and aid workers with the symptoms have been flown back to their respective nations for treatment. In Spain, a nurse assigned to the care of an infected missionary who later died, has tested positive for Ebola. She is in critical condition.
Experimental drugs designed to fight the virus are being rushed through trials. A vaccine is in the developing stages, but its imminent release is not likely.
The origins of Ebola are murky. It first manifested in 1976 in Zaire, Africa (now Democratic Republic of the Congo), where the deadly virus swept across villages through contaminated needles and one-on-one contact. It subsided, only to return decades later in March 2014.
Every time the Ebola virus finds a new host it replicates, and a slight mutation occurs. Thus, for cure and prevention of another outbreak, the only true solution is for the disease to be completely eradicated. No one presently knows how to ensure this.
And so it is with sin. Its origins are also murky; the Bible calls it the “mystery of iniquity.” 2 Thessalonians 2:7. There is no human cure, no magic pill or antidote. Sin can be suppressed and treated, but not cured by any human means. We may try to cover it by a form of godliness and dead works. 2 Timothy 3:1–5. But sin in any form is deadly and must be eradicated—completely—or it will continue to replicate and spread its fatal effects to everyone.
Just as Ebola is a threat to world peace, so is sin. The sad truth is that universal peace is not possible in this life because of sin. The good news is that God has a plan to eradicate sin in the universe and re-establish eternal righteousness and peace.
- “Ebola in West Africa,” com, October 5, 2014.
THE ORIGIN OF EVIL
1. From whom did sin originate? 1 John 3:8
God did not create sin. Sin developed afterward. God said to Lucifer, “Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou was created, till iniquity was found in thee.” Ezekiel 28:15.
2. What happened to Satan, formerly the perfect angel Lucifer in heaven? Revelation 12:9
Read also Jude 6; 2 Peter 2:4; Isaiah 14:12–17.
3. What is Satan doing now, and how much time does he have? Revelation 12:10, 12
II. THE SECOND COMING
1. How will it be just before the second coming of Christ? Luke 17:26
2. How was it in the days of Noah? Genesis 6:5
3. What did the apostle Paul say about the last days? 2 Timothy 3:1–5
4. Will evil men become better or worse? 2 Timothy 3:13
IV. THE MILLENNIUM
1. What state is the Earth in? Jeremiah 4:23–25, 27
2. If no man is on Earth, what does Satan do? Revelation 20:2–3
“Bottomless pit” (Greek—abyss) is the same word used in Genesis 1:2. The Greek translation, “deep,” reveals the original chaotic condition.
3. What will the righteous do in Heaven? Revelation 20:4
4. Who will be judged? 1 Corinthians 6:2, 3
V. THE 2ND RESURRECTION
1. Then what will happen to the righteous who are alive? 1 Thessalonians 4:17
2. What happens to the wicked? Revelation 20:5
These two resurrections are one thousand years apart. In the first resurrection at the beginning of the millennium, the righteous are forever away from the power of Satan. At the end of the thousand years, the second resurrection takes place, the resurrection to damnation. (John 5:29). The wicked come forth to receive their just reward. The resurrection of the wicked unbinds Satan. Now he has someone to tempt and deceive.
5. According to Christ’s parable of the wheat and tares, how long will the good and bad remain together? Matthew 13:38, 30
6. When is the harvest? Matthew 13:39
7. When will the “man of sin” (2 Thessalonians 2:3) cease his iniquity? 2 Thessalonians 2:8
8. How long is the “little horn” of Daniel 7:25 to make war with the saints? Daniel 7:21, 22
Read also 1 Thessalonians 5:2–4; 2 Peter 3:3, 4; and Joel 3:9, 10. According to these texts, the world will not grow better and better until finally we have a thousand years of peace, prosperity, plenty, and righteousness on Earth. The Lord suddenly comes at a time of great wickedness on Earth. It is the work of Satan to tempt the saints and to deceive sinners.
VI. THE FINAL BATTLE
1. What do Satan and his followers do when the Holy City comes down? Revelation 21:2; 20:9
2. For whom is the “lake of fire” prepared? Matthew 25:41
This is the “lake of fire,” the final end of Satan himself and all his followers. 2 Peter 3:10
3. What follows the punishment of the wicked? Revelation 21:4, 5
III. THE 1ST RESURRECTION
1. Does the Savior actually touch the earth when He comes to raise the righteous dead and translate the righteous living? 1 Thessalonians 1:7–10
2. What does the Bible say will happen to the righteous who have died when Jesus comes again? 1 Thessalonians 4:16
3. When Christ comes, does He remain with the saints on Earth, or are they taken to be with Him? John 14:1–3
4. Will the wicked be able to endure the glory of our Lord’s return? 2 Thessalonians 1:7–10
5. What will happen to “that wicked” at the coming of the Lord? 2 Thessalonians 2:8
The earth, as it came from the hand of the Creator in the beginning, reveals God’s plan for universal peace. Sin was never a part of those plans and did not originate with God—in fact it is a mystery. At the second coming of Christ, God’s people will be taken with Him to Heaven, where they will reign with Him in judgment for one thousand years. At the end of the thousand years, they descend to this earth with the Holy City. Revelation 21. The wicked are destroyed and the earth purified by fire. Out of this destruction, God brings forth a new Heaven and a new Earth wherein dwelleth the righteous. 2 Peter 3:13. Sin and sinners have no place on the new Earth. God can give us power to overcome sin now and prepare us to experience universal peace in His new kingdom.
I accept the plans for peace that God has made. I want Him to take control of my heart and separate me from my sins. Then I will earnestly pray to remain faithful so that I may be included in His plans for universal peace.
In the Ten Commandments and other Bible passages, why does God portray Himself as a “jealous God”? How can a holy God also be jealous?
I. In the Beginning
II. The Change
III. God’s Solution
V. Will You Come
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