It was perhaps the most pivotal moment in history. The entire universe was in chaos. The Earth lay desolate. God surveyed the scene. “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:2).
In the Hebrew language, that verse says the Earth was tohu and bohu. This was not the way God had originally created everything. Isaiah 45:18 says, “For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else.” The word translated “in vain” is tohu. God didn’t make the Earth or any other part of the vast universe tohu and bohu. He made it perfect, and He formed it to be inhabited! So what caused this state of destruction in Genesis 1:2?
God had first created the angels, including that pinnacle of created beings, Lucifer. To provide them an exciting life of productivity, He created the material universe for them. That is talked about in the first verse of the Bible—God had created the heavens and the Earth just for them. They would first take care of the Earth, and if they could do that, God would send them out into the universe!
But it didn’t work out that way. After some time, they chose instead to follow Lucifer as he exalted himself against God and staged a hostile takeover of that universe-ruling throne. They didn’t have the patience to allow God to give it to them. They wanted it all right then and there. But such thinking always leads to disaster. It takes character to rule rightly, and the angels didn’t have it. In the intense war that ensued, the beautiful Earth was decimated—leveled and destroyed—made tohu and bohu.
Mr. Armstrong wrote in The Incredible Human Potential, “When [the angels] turned traitor on Earth, their sin must have also brought simultaneously physical destruction to the other planets throughout the universe, which were potentially and conditionally put in subjection to them.
“As God surveyed this cataclysmic tragedy, He must have realized that since the highest, most perfect being within His almighty power to create had turned to rebellion, it left God Himself as the only being who would not and cannot sin” (emphasis added throughout).
This profound realization, a result of the tohu and bohu pictured in Genesis 1:2, was the point when God crystallized a new plan in His mind—a plan that would take 7,000 years to complete.
The Feast of Tabernacles pictures the seventh day of that week of millenniums. The Last Great Day, the eighth day, is an entirely separate holy day—and it pictures the culmination of the entire plan. As we will see, God’s complete 7,000-year plan is all preparation for what the Last Great Day pictures: the time when all people who have ever lived will be given a chance to be born into God’s Family.
A New Race
Looking around at the destruction wrought by the angels, God knew that the only way He could spread the joy of His government and His Family to the whole material universe was to reproduce Himself. He wanted real children—real sons. Sons reared up to exhibit His very own righteous character, who could be put anywhere in the universe without supervision and remain totally committed to the supremacy of the God Family, with the Father at the head. God yearned passionately for a real Family!
At that point, God determined to create a new race of beings, utterly unique in creation. Cast in His own likeness, and intended to exhibit His godly character, this would be a race superior to every other physical creature. It would dominate the Earth and, in so doing, learn how to properly exercise power and authority. This race would, alone, experience the joys of family life—marriage, creating and nurturing children—and, in so doing, learn how to use government to have peaceful and productive relationships with one another. It would have a spirit to impart intellect, just as God Himself has; it would be able to think, reason, judge—to create! And that spirit God designed to combine with His own Holy Spirit, enabling this race to understand the deep things of God and to love as God Himself does.
But this race would not be composed of immortal spirit—not at first. Not like the angels. No, this new race would be flesh, subject to death. They would have to prove themselves first and voluntarily choose to live righteously before God would give them eternal life. If they failed, God could just allow them to die and return to the dust of the ground.
But to those who proved themselves, God would preserve the righteous character within them, and though their physical bodies would expire and fade away, God could transform them into spirit! Knowing, then, that they would use it for the good of the God Family, never to turn away and rebel as did Lucifer, God would give them all the power that He Himself has—the power to travel throughout the limitless universe, the power to create and to destroy.
This was God’s plan! This is how He would reproduce Himself, adding children to the God Family.
A Huge Family
Before we continue with how He planned to implement this plan, we should realize how huge was the size and scope of the family vision God had.
Mr. Armstrong wrote, “So the angel potential was to take over the entire universe—to improve and finish the billions of physical planets surrounding the uncountable stars …” (ibid). Scientists say that there are 2 to 3 trillion galaxies, and every galaxy has 100 billion stars. That’s unfathomable!
This is the level God was thinking on when He was contemplating this new race of potential Gods called human beings. He created this incredibly expansive universe, fully intending it to be inhabited! He wanted a huge Family. Not one or two or 10 or 20 children, but multiple billions of God children! All exhibiting His righteous character, the perfect character required to appropriately handle universe rule.
How would God carry out such an ambitious plan? Obviously it would require immense preparation. The millions upon millions of angels had all been instantaneously created as separate beings. This time, God laid out a plan that would take 7,000 years to unfold, and it would all start off with just two people—one marriage, a man and a woman.
As the story continues in Genesis 1, God renewed the face of the Earth, filling it with raw materials: water, soil, fire, wood, stone. He populated it with fish, birds and animals.
Then He placed upon it the first two of these potential Gods: Adam and Eve. They were full-fledged adults, with no knowledge, no understanding yet, but cast in God’s own likeness and ready to learn. God placed them in the idyllic Garden of Eden and began to educate them, to prepare them for their incredible human potential. They would be the physical progenitors of the multiple billions God would ultimately seek to have in His Family.
Satan must have been intensely jealous of these two people, knowing that God was preparing to exalt them to a position he had never been offered. He wanted to do whatever he could to confound God’s intentions.
God allowed Satan into the garden, and this adversarial being went right to work. “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4-5). You can be God right now! he said. You don’t have to wait for God to exalt you! Remember what God has been teaching you about your incredible human potential? Why wait? Just take it!
That argument proved too compelling to resist. People can be very short-sighted. Eve gave in, Adam went along, and suddenly everything was awry. These were supposed to be the beings that would take over where Lucifer and the angels had failed! They were supposed to eventually rule the universe! And they had succumbed to the first temptation that came their way. This became the foundation of present civilization. From that point, man would build things his way.
Man Cut Off
But God’s purpose was not deterred by the wrong choice of two individuals. He allowed mankind to continue to reproduce and multiply, creating generation after generation of potential God beings.
Here is where so many religions get off track. God was not thinking, Well now what am I going to do? The world’s religions believe God is trying to save all mankind now, frantically trying to keep Satan and his deceptions at bay. But read Genesis 3:23-24: “Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keepthe way of the tree of life.”
God is not trying to save mankind now! In actuality, He cut them off from access to His Holy Spirit! God Himself has closed their ears and shut their eyes to spiritual understanding. Why? Why would God subject virtually all of mankind to the devil’s evil influences, consigning him to a life of misery, generation after generation, with unhappiness, suffering and bloodshed multiplying continually—until things would get so bad that the whole race of them, these wonderful beings of such fantastic God-plane potential, would be ready to blow each other off the face of the Earth? How could such a nightmare possibly serve as preparation for mankind entering God’s Family?
The answer is at the heart and core of the Last Great Day’s meaning. The truth is, God cutting man off from His Spirit was a calculated move of such strategic brilliance that people can’t comprehend it without having that Spirit.
Clues to one of God’s reasons for His decision can be found in Isaiah 6:9-10. “And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.” This is the same story as Genesis 3:24—God doesn’t want people to understand, to see the truth. Not yet! It is His purpose to keep them blinded for now. Why? Look at the next verse.
“Then said I, Lord, how long?” Isaiah asked God, How long must mankind remain cut offfrom you? “And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate” (Isaiah 6:11).
We begin to see one reason for God’s strategy: God wanted man to prove something to himself. By maintaining a hands-off policy for a full 6,000 years, God would show man just how evil things could get under rulership without character, under unrighteous people who cannot handle power. Again, it takes character to rule rightly. If Satan had seized control of the universe, it would have remained tohu and bohu forever. With mankind as the ultimate authority on the Earth, eventually the cities will be waste without inhabitant, the houses without man, and the land utterly desolate. If you don’t believe that, God said, just stick around—I’ll let you see it with your own eyes. He’s giving mankind one chance to prove to himself how incapable he is to hold authority without having God as his Head.
Later we’ll see God’s primary reason for this hands-off policy. Again, this is all preparation for bringing as many of these beings into the God Family as possible.
During this time of man’s civilization, God did call out a few. To these few, He gave His Holy Spirit, as He had intended to with the whole race of human beings from the very beginning. These were God’s firstfruits: called for a special purpose, called to positions of greater responsibility—and therefore required to overcome under conditions of greater stress.
These few were allowed to understand the mysteries of God. And that meant there was the possibility they could reject them. Remember, in the overriding plan, God wants every individual to make the choice to obey and to prove his or her loyalty. That means we are each given one chance (Hebrews 6:4-6).
Once we have “tasted of the heavenly gift,” we are under God’s judgment. What are we going to do with that gift? That’s the question God will demand of every human being, every individual in this human race that He wants to exalt to the God level.
Again, right now, while the world is in the throes of Satan’s oppression and man’s unjust rule over man, God is giving only a very few people that choice. Think in terms of God wanting as many of these multiplying billions of humans as possible to enter the God Family, and you begin to see that He has to be highly selective of whom He calls and chooses right now. There is a great deal of risk involved, because times are so dangerous, and the chance of those individuals succumbing to Satan’s attacks, as Adam did, is so high.
Look at the Laodicean era, which God Himself prophesied over and over. He knew, as He was building the Worldwide Church in the Philadelphia era, that He would lose probably half of the people He placed into that Church—even that perhaps 95 percent would get swept up in that rebellion clear up until the Tribulation. God knows that with the firstfruits, He is putting eternal lives at risk!
Why Satan Is Still Around
This raises an important question: With all this risk, if God is really interested in saving all men, why doesn’t He just get rid of Satan now? Our lives would be much easier if we didn’t have to deal with the devil.
Think about this: The very fact that Satan is still around today ought to demonstrate to anyone that salvation for mankind isn’t God’s intent right now. Because when God does want to save mankind, He doesn’t need Satan around anymore—and He will simply lock him up! God has the power to do that any time He pleases. Christ has already qualified to replace him. Revelation 20:1-3 show that when the time comes, God will say, OK, take him away. Satan will be gone during the Millennium. God will be accomplishing something quite different from what He is doing today.
So what is God doing today? Well, as we learn on Pentecost each year, God is calling the firstfruits now because He needs help in the Millennium (see verse 4). The Church today is a teachers college.
Consider Christ’s soon-coming responsibilities. He will come to claim the Earth-ruling throne that is rightfully His. He will clean up the planet after man has made everything tohu and bohu. He will reeducate the whole world. He will build a new society of millions of people from the ground up. A tremendous amount of responsibility is about to fall on His shoulders. God knows His Son needs a helpmeet. He needs a wife.
Now consider the rate of failure among God’s people. You would think God would be tempted to give up on the human race! Yet the fact that He keeps working with us and raising up more people to do His Work should prove just how much He needs help!
It’s easy to think, Christ is perfect—He is spirit. He can do it all Himself. But even on a physical level, a marriage would fall apart if the wife had such an attitude. Husband and wife should be one flesh, working together toward the same goal. Christ needs us for this great plan to work. Otherwise we wouldn’t be here, and our lives wouldn’t be nearly so hard. We have difficulties, trials, tests and sufferings because God needs us, and He needs us to be perfect, to have the character to rule rightly, for Him to succeed in this great plan.
God uses Satan to help build that character in us. He can get rid of him at any time, but right now Satan serves an important purpose in helping us to qualify—to make our lives hard. Because, as Mr. Flurry always says, there is only one Bride! And she has to be one exceptional lady. To hold that exalted position, we must overcome Satan as Christ overcame (Revelation 3:21). No one else will ever have to qualify in this extremely dangerous and risky way. “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:6).
Again, all these events are pointing toward the Last Great Day. Right now, God’s purpose is to prepare a bride for His Son. Christ must have a wife before He assumes His responsibilities on the throne of world rule.
What will be God’s intent during the Millennium? Consider the projects we’ll be undertaking. With great effort we will be rebuilding whole cities, entire nations. Raising up colleges. Erecting homes and farms. We will be creating utopia, ruling from that magnificent headquarters temple in Jerusalem.
Before we go any further, sneak a glance at Revelation 21:1. “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.”
Wait a minute. This is just ahead in the story, and it is talking about the whole surface of the Earth being purified with fire—everything burning up, to the point where even the seas are completely evaporated! That means all these beautiful new cities we just spent 1,000 years building up—all the homes and parks and businesses, all the churches, even that glorious headquarters temple—will be made ashes!
That fact provides us a better perspective when we talk about the Millennium. We spend seven days during the Feast of Tabernacles celebrating it, and then on the eighth day we celebrate, in part, the fact that everything we built will be burned! What is God’s intent for having that thousand-year period, building a utopia that will all just burn up?
Let’s back up just a few verses. There is one last thing—something very important—that God uses the Earth for in its present form, what Revelation 21:1 calls “the first earth.”
Throughout the Millennium, as we instruct people in righteousness, as we teach them out of books like Mystery of the Ages and The Incredible Human Potential, as we clear land and level mountains and make more arable soil and farmland (Isaiah 41:15-20), we will be preparing people for a huge event.
Here is the final act of preparation: “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” (Revelation 20:7-8).
Things are beautiful in this utopia, and people are treating each other right, and most of the population of the Earth has been born during the Millennium, and they have never experienced Satan. But God isn’t finished with Satan just yet. He must be loosed. Why? Because even after 1,000 years of utopia, during this “little season” (verse 3) Satan is able to deceive so many people, their number is as the sand of the sea! Yet another monumental failure by men!
“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. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet [were], and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (verses 9-10).
That is the last this world will ever see of Satan. And that purging of those weak, rebellious people who succumbed and then tried to make war against God’s headquarters—that is the very last act of preparation required in this great 7,000-year plan.
What happens next is what we’ll have been telling the millions of people about throughout the Millennium. What happens next is the whole purpose for everything we’ve been building for 1,000 years. What happens next is the greatest responsibility any of us will have ever faced. What happens next is the moment God has been anticipating ever since He surveyed the tohu and bohu brought about by the angelic rebellion, the moment He’ll be able to offer all of mankind that choice.
“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 …” (Revelation 20:11-12).
Everyone who ever lived, cut off from God, will be resurrected. The horribly sinful men who were burned up in Sodom and Gomorrah will be there. All the people who mocked Noah and then drowned violently in the deluge. Korah and those who followed him, whom God swallowed up in the Earth, and all the rest of the hard-headed Israelites who died in the wilderness. The Pharisees and Sadducees, Pilate and Caiaphas, who murdered the Son of God and knew not what they were doing. Those who through the ages have cruelly tortured and martyred God’s saints, and spat upon God’s message. Men whose last instant of life was spent in hatred and fear, as a soldier on one of a thousand, thousand battlefields of this weary Earth. The billions who have lived and died in atheist Russia or pagan China. All those who spent their lives under the boot of a dictator, who knew nothing but the worst of the evils of man’s rule over man. And the dictators themselves, who used power as a weapon, and who never had to learn to submit. All the exalted men of history, educators, scientists, inventors, philosophers, false prophets, whose greatness of intellect served only to further distract and deceive a race already pitifully ignorant. Slaves, harlots, pirates, gang members, thieves, drug addicts, illiterates, suicides, people formerly possessed by demons. People who never knew love in their families—who maybe died at the hand of an abusive husband, or father, or mother. All the children in Africa who never lived a day with real food in their bellies. All those in poverty and squalor. Those who lived in absolute darkness as to why they were alive, the purpose of their existence. The people you went to school with, whom you worked with. The boss who gave you trouble over the Sabbath. The family members who could never understand your religion. Brought to life again, in their minds instantaneously after their last, probably painful moments of life in Satan’s world, resurrected to physical flesh and blood, in the second resurrection. Even, probably, the majority of those who died fighting us and our Husband, the glorified Christ, 1,000 years before in the Valley of Jehoshaphat. We see them all. Standing before us, with all of their ideas and hatreds and dysfunctions. The cumulation of a failed race. Probably about 50 billion people or more.
Can we grasp the magnitude of the job that awaits us? Teaching people in the Millennium was a piece of cake compared to what faces us at this moment.
The Largest Audience Possible
Continuing in Revelation 20:12 we read, “… 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.” Finally the books of the Bible are opened to their understanding. All of these people are no longer cut off from God’s Holy Spirit. They may freely take of the tree of life.
For the first time, these people are experiencing a world ruled by a righteous King. Satan, the great deceiver, is gone. The scales can now be removed from their eyes. It is finally time to reeducate all mankind—the entire human race—in God’s way of life. To give them Mystery of the Ages, The Incredible Human Potential, The Missing Dimension in Sex.
Do we realize what a huge responsibility this will be? It is so big that though it’s over a thousand years away, we are already preparing for it!
The largest audience possible! We hear that phrase all the time, but do we realize that ultimately it’s the Last Great Day that we’re talking about? When we meditate about this, we can begin to understand why God went to such tremendous trouble to make sure we are prepared. One thousand years is not one day too long for us to get the Earth ready to handle this massive population explosion, with this many problems all coming up at one time.
In fact, we can’t do it ourselves—not Christ with the whole collection of God beings who make up His helpmeet. The job is too big for us.
We need the assistance of all those we taught through the Millennium, who by this time have also been changed into God beings, on the child level. This is the great event we were preparing them for during the Millennium.
Just as we understand and constantly hear and have reinforced in our minds that we’re not here to get salvation but to prepare to teach—that’s the same thing people will be hearing for 1,000 years in the Millennium: They are not there for their own salvation! The Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course calls them “second fruits”! Their purpose is to prepare for the Great White Throne Judgment! That’s the reason we build that utopian society that will burn up when it’s all said and done. The Millennium is merely the “teachers college” for the second resurrection.
God the Father has been preparing from before He created man for the 100-year period of the Great White Throne Judgment. Now, the 7,000 years of preparation is complete. God will already have a tremendous Family: He has His loyal, faithful Son at His side. And Christ has His helpmeet at His side—His wife who has made herself ready. And they have their huge Family of millions of children, all trained up in the way that they should go, all God beings, a dynamic team of educators, ready to assist Him. And now, Christ will have multiple billions more potential children, standing before Him expectantly, for a 100-year judgment period, a 100-year education period. And they will all be taught and given the understanding of the incredible human potential that God purposed for them when He created this remarkable race. All given the choice to accept it or not. His Spirit will be poured out on all flesh. Every man.
That is the major reason why God cut mankind in general off from understanding all these things that we now understand: because He wanted to wait until He could create the perfect conditions for offering all mankind this magnificent choice. And did you know that most of these people, the people we see every day around us and interact with regularly, are going to make it? This masterful strategy of God’s, this 7,000-year plan, will bring in a large percentage of all mankind who have ever lived.
It’s worth the risk for God to bring us in today, even if a small percentage of mankind fails (including those firstfruits who rebel) and are burned in the lake of fire. It’s worth it because He needs us to raise up others, so that all of us will be there for the 50 billion children we’ll help bring into the Family during the Last Great Day.
God wants all men to come to repentance, to be saved and to come into the knowledge of the truth. All 50 billion.
The Hope of the World
God has a deep love for every person on this Earth—even as they ruin their lives, so mixed up it’s as if they can’t even tell one hand from the other (Jonah 4:11). If only they knew their awesome potential; if only they knew about their purpose for being alive! They are all potential Gods and will one day be God! And God wants to send them out into this universe to beautify it and to spread His government and peace everywhere they go.
Mr. Flurry writes in The God Family Vision: “We are the hope of the world. No other hope exists. The world has nothing to look forward to. Christ’s Bride, however, who is concerned about her future children, does everything she can to help those people. We are Christ’s helpmeet. We need to think about that a great deal more.”
The work we do today is all preparation. This is why we’re getting Mr. Armstrong’s books out today. This is why we have to work so hard today. This is why we have to develop the character to rule rightly. This is why we are making ourselves ready as Christ’s helpmeet today! It’s all preparation. Because the better we do our job, the more teachers we’ll have for the Millennium. And the better we do in the Millennium, the better prepared we’ll be to handle the second resurrection. And the better we do in the Great White Throne Judgment, the bigger God’s Family will be.
Let’s take on this Last Great Day vision—this great family vision—in everything we do, and allow it to motivate us in our everyday lives and in our interactions with everyone we meet—all our potential children in the great God Family. One day we’ll help give God the Family He is so yearning for!