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Without Form and Void
(And You Want Me to Fix This!!!???)

"Without Form and Void" is how Genesis 1 describes the earth before creation week. As the Bible describes it, by the time of the Second Coming, the earth will be returned to that state and will remain like that until a new heavens and a new earth are created after the millennium.

Yet, many groups (evangelical and messianic) believe that the saved will spend the millennium on earth. Here are some quotes typical of those who believe that people will survive into the millennium and be involved with the saints that had previously gone to heaven (in the rapture) in restoring the earth.

"The cities of the world will all be destroyed, just as when the Katrina and Rita hurricanes devastated the cities and left them as if no one had ever lived there: ... There will be a lot of work to do; we will rebuild the cities as the mortals will start to multiply."
(http://revelationofthechrist.com/THE%20EARTH%20PG-135.pdf)
"In order for the Lord and us to establish a nice, beautiful, good, clean heaven on earth, we'll first have to clean up the hell on earth that the Antichrist and his demon-possessed people left behind!... So there will certainly be some cleaning up to do!"
(http://deeptruths.com/bof/the_millennium-2.html)
"We believe that Christ and His followers will spend the millennium transforming our nearly-destroyed earth into a paradise for those people who survive the Day of the Lord."
(http://www.chcpublications.net/millennium.htm)

So much for floating around on clouds playing a harp! These people believe the saints previously raptured to heaven will reign over the earth and will be involved with those left behind, after the rapture, in its restoration. The purpose of this study is to examine the events preceding the Second Coming to see if this theory is Biblical.

To understand what the earth is going to be like at the end of the world, we will start by looking at what it was like at the beginning of the world.

Genesis describes what the earth was like before God began to speak in creation week:

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep ..." (Gen 1:1-2)

Whenever the physical sphere of the earth was created, it seems that it was in this state - without form and void - until God spoke during creation week to make something of it. It was:

  1. without form - there was no structure to it
  2. void - it was empty
  3. darkness - there was no light and therefore no life
  4. deep - this seems, in the 35 uses of the original word, to be referring to the ocean of water that covered the earth before it was separated to form dry land

The "face of the deep" is similar to "face of the ground":

"But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground." (Gen 2:6)

It seems to indicate that the earth was covered with water before the Spirit of God began to move upon it and change it from without form and void into a paradise for the use of man.

The Order of Creation

Then what happened in creation week?

Day 1 - the light and the light dark cycle (there already was darkness - the absence of light) was established. Light is needed for life.

"And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. ... And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day." (Gen 1:3, 5)

This passage establishes the principle that evening and morning are a 24-hour period. (There is a principle that the first use in scripture of a word, phrase or concept has a great bearing on its meaning in later uses.) An evening and a morning is a day, not a year. This becomes of interest when we get to the prophecies of Daniel and start talking about the day-year principle.

Day 2 - the firmament that divided the waters was created. This is the atmosphere separating the waters below (the surface waters of the earth) from the canopy of water above. The water above formed a canopy giving the earth a greenhouse-like environment and even temperatures. These waters came down during Noah's flood.

Day 3 - the dry land was separated from the water and filled with plants. The dry land was needed for non-aquatic life. God was preparing each area of the earth and then filling it with life, beginning to change it from its original without form and void condition.

Day 4 - the sun and the moon and their cycle was established.

Day 5 - fish and birds were created to live in the prepared surface waters and the firmament (sky) of the earth.

Day 6 - land animals and man were created to live on the dry land portion of the earth.

And so, within six working days, the earth goes from being without form and void and in darkness to a state of order and beauty and is declared to be "very good." That's a pretty productive work week!

"Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them." (Gen 2:1)

Day 7 - on the sabbath (seventh day) God didn't make anything; He "rested." We can list the original state of the earth and what was done on each day of creation like this:

Day
Created
0
without form and void
1
light
2
firmament (atmosphere)
3
dry land and plants
4
sun and moon
5
fish and birds
6
land animals and man
7
the Sabbath

Day 0 indicates the state of the earth before God worked to do something with it.

God's intent was that man should now enjoy the wonders of creation that God had provided for him as was His original plan. Unfortunately, due to choices our first parents made, that plan has been thwarted for a time.

What Jeremiah Saw

Now look at this:

"I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light." (Jer 4:23)

It is interesting that what Jeremiah saw in a vision of the future - the earth "without form and void" matches so closely the state of the earth before creation week:

In the beginning
(Gen 1:1-2)
     At the end     
(Jer 4:23)
without form
without form
void
void
no light
darkness

Jeremiah is describing the earth and using some of the same words - "without form and void" - that were used to describe what it was like before creation week. Is he also describing the earth before creation when clearly it was "without form and void"? The context would seem to indicate not. If not, at what time is he viewing the earth? What has happened to the earth that he could be describing it like that?

Here is a clue:

"My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war." (Jer 4:19)

Jeremiah is seeing the Second Coming and its after effects. The following verses which are talking of the Second Coming help to make his connection:

"And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war." (Rev 19:11)

"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:" (1 Thess 4:16)

"In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." (Cor 15:52)
What Happened?

We want to compare Jeremiah's description of the earth at the Second Coming to its state before creation and determine what happens to essentially return the earth to a pre-creation state ("without form and void"); to, in a sense, reverse creation.

Just before the Second Coming there will be a series of events described in Revelation 16 and referred to as the seven last plagues. And there are other passages of scripture that also relate events happening at or shortly before the Second Coming. We want to look for anything that gives clues as to the physical state of the earth. We are looking for evidence to confirm what Jeremiah says he saw.

Cursing or Blessing?

In the last days, in the time before the Second Coming, we have this promise:

"And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: ..." (Acts 2:17)

The purpose of doing that is, I think, related to another action of God:

"And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." (Mal 4:6)

This verse is not saying that God does not smite the earth with a curse but rather that he will turn the heart of fathers and children to each other in an attempt to avoid the earth being cursed. God never forces the heart or the mind or the will but He will make efforts to do that by pouring out His spiritual presence.

He offers a choice. Obtaining a blessing and avoiding a curse is always conditional on obedience. And having a heart turned toward someone else does not necessarily mean acceptance of the other person. For God to present the alternatives described in the verse below and urge people to choose life is surely an example of pouring out His Spirit and yet they choice is left up to man; God does not force the will.

"I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:" (Deut 30:19)
One statement of God does not contradict another:
"But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:" (Deut 28:15)

The question is: how will people respond to God's effort to turn hearts in the last days and, it seems, the answer is given in Isaiah:

"Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left." (Isa 24:6)

It says that "the curse devoured the earth" which seems to indicate that, despite God's efforts, the attempt to turn hearts was largely unsuccessful. And this is confirmed by the verse before:

"The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant." (Isa 24:5)

This could be a reference to the change in the Sabbath commandment along with all the other broken laws.

God designated the Sabbath to be a memorial, a reminder of creation. God judged nations in the past for transgression. In the last days, man will, as a united world, pass laws to do away with God's Sabbath day. This is related to the mark of the beast - watch for a future study.

The Seventh Day - the Sabbath

There is a sense in which the seventh day is reversed, not by God but by the laws of man. So, in a sense, the seventh day of creation is reversed

Day
Created
Reversed
Reference(s)
0
without form and void    
1
light    
2
firmament (atmosphere)    
3
dry land and plants    
4
sun and moon    
5
fish and birds    
6
land animals and man    
7
the Sabbath changed ordinance Isa 24:5

The Sixth Day - Man and Animals

Jeremiah says, as he sees the earth:

"I beheld, and, lo, there was no man ..." (Jer 4:25)

Remember, he has said "I beheld the earth" It doesn't sound to me like Jeremiah is looking just at Jerusalem or some small corner of the earth. It's not that he doesn't see any man in his field of view while there are people everywhere else. He is being given an overview of the condition of the earth and he sees no man.

"I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith the LORD." (Zeph 1:2)
"I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumblingblocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the LORD." (Zeph 1:3)
"And the slain of the LORD shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground." (Jer 25:33)

Why no one to bury them? Could it be because there is no one left alive? I would think that a very high priority if there were people left alive would be do dispose of the corpses.

"Then said he unto me, This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth: for every one that stealeth shall be cut off as on this side according to it; and every one that sweareth shall be cut off as on that side according to it." (Zech 5:3)

And so the sixth day of creation is reversed

Day
Created
Reversed
Reference(s)
0
without form and void    
1
light    
2
firmament (atmosphere)    
3
dry land and plants    
4
sun and moon    
5
fish and birds    
6
land animals and man man and beast consumed Jer 4:25; Zeph 1:3
7
the Sabbath changed ordinance Isa 24:5

The Fifth Day - Fish and Birds

"I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled." (Jer 4:25)
"I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumblingblocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the LORD." (Zeph 1:3)
"And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea." (Rev 16:3)

As John looks at the waters that have turned to blood why would he say "as the blood of a dead man?" Not because it is bright red - only freshly-oxygenated blood is red. Not because it is red but because it is anoxic. It can't carry oxygen any more. It can't support life. That's why he says "every living soul died in the sea."

The sea will not be capable of supporting life any more. And the same seems to apply to the fresh water of the earth:

"And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood." (Rev 16:4)
"Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away." (Hosea 4:3)

Here is a verse that might seem to question this scenario:

"For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together." (Matt 24:38)

This is understood to be a reference to birds feeding on the carcasses of the dead which wouldn't be possible if the birds were also all dead. There are two possible solutions to this:

  1. The days are being examined in order here but not everything necessarily happens in that order. There may be some overlap and plenty of dead bodies before the last of the birds are also killed.
  2. Every other reference to "eagles" in scripture is in a non-literal, symbolic sense. For example, as a simile: "... his hairs were grown like eagles' feathers" (Dan 4:33) or as a metaphor: "swifter than eagles," (Jer 4:13); "I bare you on eagle's wings." (Exo 19:4).

The birds and fish are no longer. The fifth day of creation is reversed.

Day
Created
Reversed
Reference(s)
0
without form and void    
1
light    
2
firmament (atmosphere)    
3
dry land and plants    
4
sun and moon    
5
fish and birds fish and birds consumed Zeph 1:3; Rev 16:3
6
land animals and man man and beast consumed Jer 4:25; Zeph 1:3
7
the Sabbath changed ordinance Isa 24:5

The Fourth Day - The Sun and the Moon

"Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven ..." (Matt 24:29-30)

It doesn't say how long the sun will be darkened or if it will stay darkened, however, we'll see later a statement about "no light."

"For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine." (Isa 13:10)
"The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining:" (Joel 2:10)
"The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining." (Joel 3:15)
"But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light," (Mark 13:24)

Here is another verse that suggests that the day-night cycle will be totally disrupted:

"The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again." (Isa 24:20)

The work done of the fourth day of creation is reversed.

Day
Created
Reversed
Reference(s)
0
without form and void    
1
light    
2
firmament (atmosphere)    
3
dry land and plants    
4
sun and moon darkness Isa 13:10; Joel 2:10
5
fish and birds fish and birds consumed Zeph 1:3; Rev 16:3
6
land animals and man man and beast consumed Jer 4:25; Zeph 1:3
7
the Sabbath changed ordinance Isa 24:5

The Third Day - Dry Land and Plants

"And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory." (Rev 16:8-9)

If men are scorched with great heat what would happen to the plants?

"I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the LORD, and by his fierce anger." (Jer 4:26)

The fruitful place is a place that produces fruit or produce or food. It has become a wilderness; non-productive.

Here is a verse that makes it sound like there is actually dry land disappearing:

"And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found." (Rev 16:20)
Day
Created
Reversed
Reference(s)
0
without form and void    
1
light    
2
firmament (atmosphere)    
3
dry land and plants no food, land disappearing Jer 4:26; Rev 16:20
4
sun and moon darkness Isa 13:10; Joel 2:10
5
fish and birds fish and birds consumed Zeph 1:3; Rev 16:3
6
land animals and man man and beast consumed Jer 4:25; Zeph 1:3
7
the Sabbath changed ordinance Isa 24:5

The earth is no longer fruitful; it cannot produce the food needed to sustain life. The landscape itself is greatly changed. The third day of creation is reversed.

The Second Day - the Atmosphere

On the second day of creation the atmosphere was created between the waters below and the waters above which formed a canopy making the whole earth like a greenhouse with even temperature. Here is what happens to the atmosphere at the Second Coming:

"And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places." (Rev 6:14)
"And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree." (Isa 34:4)
"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise ..." (2 Pet 3:10)

The watery canopy above the earth was already removed at the time of the flood. Now, the heavens roll back as a scroll (whatever that means).

The second day of creation is reversed.

Day
Created
Reversed
Reference(s)
0
without form and void    
1
light    
2
firmament (atmosphere) heavens rolled back Isa 34:4; Rev 6:14
3
dry land and plants no food, land disappearing Jer 4:26; rev 16:20
4
sun and moon darkness Isa 13:10; Joel 2:10
5
fish and birds fish and birds consumed Zeph 1:3; Rev 16:3
6
land animals and man man and beast consumed Jer 4:25; Zeph 1:3
7
the Sabbath changed ordinance Isa 24:5

The First Day - Light

"I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light." (Jer 4:23)

Again, compare this description of conditions at the end with:

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep ..." (Gen 1:1-2)
In the beginning
(Gen 1:1-2)
At the end
(Jer 4:23)
without form
without form
void
void
no light
darkness

It seems that by the Second Coming, even the provision of light created on the first day of creation is affected. And so, we see, that creation has been reversed, the earth has been returned to its original state of "without form and void."

Day
Created
Reversed
Reference(s)
0
without form and void without form and void Jer 4:23
1
light lights gone out Jer 4:23
2
firmament (atmosphere) heavens rolled back Isa 34:4; Rev 6:14
3
dry land and plants no food, land disappearing Jer 4:26; Rev 16:20
4
sun and moon darkness Isa 13:10; Joel 2:10
5
fish and birds fish and birds consumed Zeph 1:3; Rev 16:3
6
land animals and man man and beast consumed Jer 4:25; Zeph 1:3
7
the Sabbath changed ordinance Isa 24:5

There isn't a much better verse to describe the complete desolation of the earth after the Second Coming than:

"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise and the elements shall melt with fervent heat the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." (2 Pet 3:10)

Here is a diagram that can help to visualize what is described above:

Creation Reversed
For a larger image, download in PDF format (195kb) here.

Summary

How many people are going to be able to live on earth when it is again "without form and void" during the millennium? There are no fish, no birds, no land beasts, no vegetation. The land is a wilderness with no cities. What will they eat? What will they drink? - blood? There is no light. How will they find their way around in the darkness?

I would like to ask some of the people that believe the comments quoted at the start of this page:

Do you really want the job of fixing this!!!???

It will not be possible to live on this earth by the time the millennium starts. The new heavens and new earth are not created until after the millennium.  


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