FROM time to time we receive letters asking when and where the conditions described in Isaiah and in the Testimonies will meet their fulfillment.
These inspired passages read as follows:
The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea (Isa. 11:6-9) .
With Jesus at our head, we all descended from the city down to this earth, on a great and mighty mountain, which could not bear Jesus up, and it parted asunder, and there was a mighty plain. Then we looked up and saw the great city, with twelve foundations, and twelve gates, three on each side, and an angel at each gate. We all cried out, "The city, the great city, it's coming, it's coming down from God out of heaven," and it came and settled on the place where we stood. Then we began to look at the glorious things outside of the city. There I saw most beautiful houses, that had the appearance of silver, supported by four pillars set with pearls, most glorious to behold, which were to be inhabited by the saints, and in which was a golden shelf. I saw many of the saints go into the houses, take off their glittering crowns and lay them on the shelf, then go out into the field by the houses to do something with the earth. . . .
Next I saw a field of tall grass, most glorious to behold; it was living green, and had a reflection of silver and gold, as it waved proudly to the glory of King Jesus. Then we entered a field full of all kinds of beasts—the lion, the lamb, the leopard, and the wolf, all together in perfect union. We passed through the midst of them, and they followed on peaceably after. . . .
As we were traveling along, we met a company who were also gazing at the glories of the place. I noticed red as a border on their garments; their crowns were brilliant; their robes were pure white. As we greeted them, I asked Jesus who they were.
He said they were martyrs that had been slain for Him. With them was an innumerable company of little ones; they had a hem of red on their garments also. Mount Zion was just before us, and on the mount was a glorious temple, and about it were seven other mountains, on which grew roses and lilies. And I saw the little ones climb, or, if they chose, use their little wings and fly to the top of the mountains, and pluck the never-fading flowers.— Testimonies, vol. 1, pp. 67-69.
The questioners who write to us regarding these inspired passages wish to know whether the time of peace and tranquillity here described comes before, during, or after the millennium. It cannot be prior to the coming of Christ just before the millennium, for the period immediately preceding the second advent of Christ is described in the Bible as a time of utter turmoil, strife, and confusion—a time spoken of by Daniel as "a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time" (Dan. 12:1), a time when, as declared by Jesus, "men's hearts [will be] failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth" (Luke 21:26). Neither can it be during the millennium, for then the earth will be empty and void, the righteous having been taken to heaven and the wicked having been left behind, dead. Therefore, it must be after the close of the millennium.
The next question is "Will the glorious picture painted by the prophet in Isaiah 11:6-9, and by Ellen G. White in Testimonies, volume one, pages 67-69, meet its fulfillment in heaven or on earth?" It must be that this prophecy will be fulfilled here on earth, for in closing his description of the harmony and safety reigning on the Lord's "holy mountain," Isaiah explains the peace and security of the place in the following words: "for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord" (Isa. 1119). The authors of The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary also apply the prophecy of Isaiah 11:6-9 to the new earth state (see vol. 4, p. 159). Moreover, in the beginning of her description Sister White tells how the saints first come down from heaven to this earth with the Holy City and afterward go out of it into the surrounding fields, and at the bottom of page 67 of Testimonies, volume one—the page on which Sister White begins the description in question—is a footnote that says, "This vision describes events to take place at the close of the one thousand years after Christ's second advent. Revelation 20; 21; 22; Zechariah 14:4."
It is evident, then, that the events foretold in the above-quoted prophecies are to meet their fulfillment in the earth made new after the close of the one thousand years following the second advent of Christ.
This self-evident fact throws the minds of some people into perplexity as they try to understand how there can be little children in the new earth after the lapse of one thousand years spent in heaven by the redeemed. These people ask, "Can it be that children will be born in heaven?"
Some people, we know, maintain that children will be born in the earth made new. But this is a mistaken notion. There will be no marriages or births in that land. Jesus Himself made this clear when He said, "Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God? For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven" (Mark 12:24, 25). And through His inspired servant the Lord tells us:
There are men to-day who express their belief that there "will be marriages and births in the new earth, but those who believe the Scriptures cannot accept such doctrines. The doctrine that children will be born in the new earth is not a part of the "sure word of prophecy." The words of Christ are too plain to be misunderstood. They should forever settle the question of marriages and births in the new earth. Neither those who shall be raised from the dead, nor those who shall be translated without seeing death, will marry or be given in marriage. They will be as the angels of God, members of the royal family.—Medical Ministry, pp. 99, 100.
"How then," it is asked, "can there be little children in the new earth? Will not all the children who were taken to heaven at the second coming o£ Christ be at least one thousand years old by the time they come into the new earth?" In point of time, yes. But reckoned in terms of eternity, a thousand years are but as a day (see 2 Peter 3:8; Ps. 90:4), and from the evidence before us, it would seem that the children taken to heaven with all the redeemed when Jesus comes will not grow out of their childhood into mature men and women until after they enter the new earth.
This conclusion seems to have good scriptural support, for after announcing the final destruction of the wicked—which will take place at the end of the millennium (Rev. 20:7-9)—and after declaring that the wicked will be consumed by a fire that "shall leave them neither root nor branch" (Mai. 4:1), the prophet Malachi says, "But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall" (verse 2). (See The Great Controversy, page 645.)
According to the text just cited, the growing-up process is to take place after the wicked, at the close of the millennium, have been reduced to ashes and the earth has been made new.
In view of the previously mentioned facts, it would seem reasonable to conclude that the conditions described in the two prophetic utterances listed at the beginning of this statement apply to the new-earth state, after the close of the millennium.