This last section is a brief summary of those prophetic events which come after The Tribulation. This is an epilogue to the main issue of the book: the distinctions between Israel, The church and The Saints of the Tribulation.
"The Millennium" means the thousand-year reign of Jesus Christ on the earth. It will begin when He returns from Heaven as "King of Kings" and "Lord of Lords." It will be a glorious time when all of nature will be restored to an environment that is so wonderful that it reminds us of the conditions which prevailed in the Garden of Eden.
Overview of The Millennium
This is such a big subject that whole books have been written on this topic alone. Here we will simply outline some of the main teachings of God's Word about it.
Progress of the Kingdom
The Kingdom was PROMISED to the patriarchs
Abraham was given a promise by God that He would make of Abraham
a great nation and give to His descendants the land of Canaan.
He was also told that through his offspring all nations of the
earth would be blessed (Genesis 12:1-3; 13:14-18; 22:15-18).
The Abrahamic Covenant was reconfirmed to Isaac and Jacob (Genesis 26:3-4,23-24; 28:13-14).
David was told by God that his offspring would be given an eternal throne (2 Samuel 7:8-17, 24, 29; 1 Chronicles 17:7-15).
The Kingdom was ESTABLISHED by Jesus
John the Baptist announced that the Kingdom of God was near
The Kingdom exists now and is in abeyance at the present. Jesus taught much about the Kingdom of Heaven. It was the theme of His preaching (Matthew 4:17). The Sermon on the Mount explained the principles of the Kingdom (Matthew chapters 5-7). His parables were given to explain various aspects of the Kingdom (Matthew 13). He related His teaching about future things (The Olivet Discourse) to the Kingdom (Matthew chapters 24-25). And He stated during His trial that His Kingdom was "not of this world" (John 18:36-38; 19:19).
The Kingdom will be DEMONSTRATED during The Millennium
The Millennium will usher in the beginning of the physical reign of Christ (Revelation 19:11-20:6).
The Kingdom will be Fully DEVELOPED in the New Heaven/New
The eternal Kingdom will be established when God creates a New Heaven and a New Earth (Revelation chapters 21-22).
The second coming of Christ--when the Lord stands upon the
Mount of Olives--will be accompanied by a great world wide earthquake
so that "the cities of the nations fell and every island
flees away." The topography of the land of Israel and the
rest of the Earth will be drastically altered. The literal meaning
of Isaiah 40:4 will come to pass (Zechariah 14:4).
Jerusalem will rise to become the capital of the Earth (Zechariah 14:9-11).
Starting with the Millennium, there will be a removal of the
Curse upon the earth which began with Adam's fall and continues
down to the present unabated (Romans 8:18-23).
The Earth, and especially Eretz Israel (the Land of Israel) will become "like the Garden of Eden" (Ezekiel 36:35).
The Desert will rejoice and blossom as the rose (Isaiah 35:1), and the parched ground will become a pool (Isaiah 35:7).
The Trees...shall clap their hands, and instead of thorns there will be trees (Isaiah 55:12-13).
The earth will be fruitful, and there will be no famine (Ezekiel 34:27-29).
Animals will once again be friendly to one another and to humans. The wolf will lie down with the lamb, and the leopard with the baby goats. Little children will be able to play near serpents without fear (Isaiah 11:6-8). Wolves And lambs will feed together, and even the Lions will eat straw like the bullock (Isaiah 65:25).
People who live during the Millennium will not die young. A
person one hundred years old will be considered a child, since,
presumably, a person could live throughout the 1000 years in the
restored environment (Isaiah 65:20-23).
Sickness will not be a problem because "The sun of righteousness shall arise with healing in its wings" (Malachi 4:2).
Later yet, after the New Earth is established, the Tree of Life will be accessible to mankind. Its leaves are "for the healing of the nations" (Revelation 22:2).
Jesus Christ will be King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and of
the increase of His government there will be no end (Revelation
19:16; Isaiah 9:6-7),
Jerusalem will be the capital of the World, and all nations will come to Jerusalem. It will be considered the center of the nations (Isaiah 2:2-4; Ezekiel 5:5).
David will reign as king over Israel, and presumably, each nation will also have its godly king who will answer to Jesus Christ, the King of Kings (Ezekiel 34:23-24; 37:24-25).
The church will share with her Lord the rule over the Gentile nations (Revelation 4:4, 10-11; 20:4, 6).
No sin or rebellion will be allowed, because the Lord will withhold rain and send plagues on any who would rebel (Zechariah 14:16-19).
Jesus Christ will rule the nations with a rod of iron (Revelation 12:5; 19:15 - Greek: "shepherdize"). This means a strong central rule to bring prompt justice and quick control over unruly nations and individuals who revolt against God.
Sinners will be born on the earth during the Millennium. Satan will be chained and therefore not free to seduce, to tempt, and to deceive, but the flesh will still manifest itself showing how complete was the original fall of Adam and Eve. During this 1000 years men can not claim that the devil is responsible for their sinful failures.
There will be peace everywhere. People will "beat their swords into plowshares" and there will be war no more (Isaiah 2:2-4).
Worship and Belief
Messiah will build a new (fourth) temple, probably the great
temple described in the final Chapters of Ezekiel. This Temple
will be used for Memorial Sacrifices (Ezekiel 40:39-43).
Salvation during the Millennium will still be by grace through faith in Jesus Christ because there is "No other name given...whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:10; Philippians 2:9-10; Revelation 22:4).
The Lord will put a new Spirit within believers whose home is on earth (Ezekiel 11:19).
Israel as a nation will be brought into the New Covenant which Jesus put into effect at the Last Supper. This covenant, promised to Israel by the prophets, has been graciously shared with the church during the interim period of Israel's Diaspora and unbelief.
Everything will be considered sanctified or "holy." Even the bells and pots will be holy to the Lord (Zechariah 14:20-21).
Unfortunately, some, even with this perfect environment, and the opportunity to see Christ in person reigning over the Earth, will still fail to believe in Him and will rebel at the end. They will follow Satan when he is released for a little while at the end of the Millennium. They will all be destroyed (Revelation 20:7-10).
The Apostle John's Brief Description of the Millennium
The 20th chapter of the Book of Revelation describes the Millennium. It immediately follows the Glorious Return of Christ in Revelation 19, which was discussed above. This short chapter may be considered in three parts: Preparation for the Period (verses 1-3);Progress during the period (verses 4-6); and Postscript to the period (verses 7-15).
Preparation for the period
And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time. (Revelation 20:1-3)
At the outset of the Millennium the devil will be cast into
the Abyss. The Greek word abussos means "without depth."
In this passage the word is used alone, but in Revelation 9:1
it is used as an adjective for another Greek word, phrear,
which means "cistern," or "prison." Together,
these words are often translated "bottomless pit."
In this pit Satan will be confined for the entire one thousand years of Christ's righteous reign on Earth. What happens when he is released is discussed below, when we look at the "Postscript to the period."
Progress during the period
I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection.
Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4-6)
The First Resurrection: Raised to eternal life
Those believers and followers of Yeshua who were converted
during the tribulation period, and had been put to death--the
martyrs of the tribulation period--will be raised from the dead
(Revelation 20:4). They are those who would not receive the Mark
of the Beast, and will have been put to death for their faith
in Christ. They are raised again as part of the "first resurrection."
Jesus Himself was the "first-fruits" of this first resurrection.
At the Rapture believers of the church age are raised as part
of this first resurrection. Now we see these believers also joining
the ranks of this first type of resurrection.
In Daniel we read that Old Testament Saints are also resurrected to eternal life.
At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people--everyone whose name is found written in the book--will be delivered.
Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:1-2)
In John Chapter 5, Jesus also spoke of the coming day when the dead would rise in two separate resurrections, at his command:
I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.
"Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out--those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. (John 5:25-29)
This resurrection of the saints of Israel who lived and died before Christ's First Advent will probably take place at the same time as the resurrection of the Tribulation martyrs since they are a continuation of believing Israel during the last "week" of Daniel's "Seventy Weeks."
Judgment of Believers
Believers of the Church Age will have already appeared at the
Bema Seat Judgment where whatever was sincerely done for Christ
will be the basis of rewards, which, in turn, are given to Christ
to prove our love to Him (1 Corinthians 3:10-15; Revelation 4:10-11).
The exact nature of the judgment of other believers--the Old Testament believers and Saints of The Tribulation--is not described. It is possible that it will be similar to the Bema Seat.
The other type of resurrection is explained below where the ungodly are raised to stand at their judgment.
Postscript to the Period
The last part of Revelation 20 is about Rebellion (verses 7-9)
and Retribution (verses 10-15).
Since these events take place after the Millennium is past, they will be considered later under the heading "The Last War."
Previews of The Millennium From The Old Testament
In contrast to the brief description of Revelation 20, the Old Testament has many lengthy passages which describe details of the Millennium, and of the time beyond, when there will be a new heaven and a new earth. We will now turn our attention to some of these Old Testament sections.
Messiah will reign from Jerusalem and the nations will come to pay tribute
Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, they will have no rain. If the Egyptian people do not go up and take part, they will have no rain. The LORD will bring on them the plague he inflicts on the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. This will be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.
On that day HOLY TO THE LORD will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, and the cooking pots in the LORD's house will be like the sacred bowls in front of the altar. Every pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to the LORD Almighty, and all who come to sacrifice will take some of the pots and cook in them. And on that day there will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the LORD Almighty. (Zechariah 14:16-21)
The survivors from all the nations that had attacked Jerusalem are the same as the sheep of Matthew 25:31-46 and the Wheat of Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43.
So Israel will live in safety alone; Jacob's spring is secure in a land of grain and new wine, where the heavens drop dew.
Blessed are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD? He is your shield and helper and your glorious sword. Your enemies will cower before you, and you will trample down their high places." (Deuteronomy 33:28-29)
An enigmatic prophecy about Enoch (who was translated into heaven prior to the flood of Noah) is recorded in the book of Jude. It has a double fulfillment: First, at the time of the Flood of Noah to judge the antediluvian world, destroying probably many billions of earth's inhabitants and delivering eight persons in the Ark. Then, at the end of the age we now live in Jesus will again appear "with his ten thousands of holy ones."
Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: "See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him." (Jude 14-15)
A mystery-filled prophecy in Ezekiel clearly relates in part to the end time and God's judgment of His people Israel:
As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I will rule over you with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with out poured wrath.
I will bring you from the nations and gather you from the countries where you have been scattered--with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with out poured wrath I will bring you into the desert of the nations and there, face to face, I will execute judgment upon you. As I judged your fathers in the desert of the land of Egypt, so I will judge you, declares the Sovereign LORD. I will take note of you as you pass under my rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant. (Ezekiel 20:33-37)
The promise to gather Israel from the nations was largely fulfilled
during the past 100 years by the Zionist movement and the formation
of the nation of Israel.
The term "wilderness of the peoples" may refer to Edom, (Southern Jordan, i.e., Petra) according to some Bible scholars.
The term "pass under the rod" appears in Leviticus 27 and symbolizes a separation of the consecrated and the unconsecrated animals of the flock.
The passage continues:
"I will purge you of those who revolt and rebel against me. Although I will bring them out of the land where they are living, yet they will not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD.
"'As for you, O house of Israel, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Go and serve your idols, every one of you! But afterward you will surely listen to me and no longer profane my holy name with your gifts and idols. For on my holy mountain, the high mountain of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD, there in the land the entire house of Israel will serve me, and there I will accept them. There I will require your offerings and your choice gifts, along with all your holy sacrifices. I will accept you as fragrant incense when I bring you out from the nations and gather you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will show myself holy among you in the sight of the nations. Then you will know that I am the LORD, when I bring you into the land of Israel, the land I had sworn with uplifted hand to give to your fathers. There you will remember your conduct and all the actions by which you have defiled yourselves, and you will loathe yourselves for all the evil you have done. You will know that I am the LORD, when I deal with you for my name's sake and not according to your evil ways and your corrupt practices, O house of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD.'" (Ezekiel 20:38-44)
"And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be great, like the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo." (Zechariah 12:10-11)
Isaiah 11 also contains a mystery concerning the end time:
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him--the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD--and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.
In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious. In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea. He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth. Ephraim's jealousy will vanish, and Judah's enemies will be cut off; Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah, nor Judah hostile toward Ephraim. They will swoop down on the slopes of Philistia to the west; together they will plunder the people to the east. They will lay hands on Edom and Moab, and the Ammonites will be subject to them. The LORD will dry up the gulf of the Egyptian sea; with a scorching wind he will sweep his hand over the Euphrates River. He will break it up into seven streams so that men can cross over in sandals. There will be a highway for the remnant of his people that is left from Assyria, as there was for Israel when they came up from Egypt. (Isaiah 11:1-16)
A promise is given that "In that day" [at the end of the tribulation],
"the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant " The Lord will "assemble the [rest of the] scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth."
This, and other passages, indicate God's plan to eventually bring all Jews back to live in the land. At the present time fewer than a third of the Jews in the world are in Israel, eventually it will evidently be 100%.
That the Lord will destroy the "tongue of the Sea" could be a reference to the Suez Canal, and the prophecy that He will "wave his hand over the River" is probably a reference to the Euphrates River (Revelation 16:12).
Isaiah 19:23-25 speaks of the rebuilding of the old "King's Highway" from Egypt to Assyria and of Israel at this time, Egypt, and Assyria will (by God's grace) enjoy favored-nation status along with Israel. Isaiah says,
"Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria the workmanship of my hands, and Israel my heritage" (Isaiah 19:25).
Ezekiel says the following about God's mercy, grace and compassion coming on the nation of Israel at the close of the age in which we live:
I had concern for my holy name, which the house of Israel profaned among the nations where they had gone.
"Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone. I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Sovereign LORD, when I show myself holy through you before their eyes.
"'For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. (Ezekiel 36:21-27)
What is striking about this passage is that it tells us of God's concern for His own name, reputation and character. Therefore all people and nations who bear the name of Yahweh need to understand their responsibility to be faithful to their high calling. It is for the sake of His own name that he is restoring Israel, not at all because of their meritorious performance or even their repentance.
This is an announcement, similar to Jeremiah 30, of God's intention
to bring the people of Israel into the New Covenant which Jesus
put into effect with his 11 disciples at the Last Supper.
The passage continues:
You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God. I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and make it plentiful and will not bring famine upon you. I will increase the fruit of the trees and the crops of the field, so that you will no longer suffer disgrace among the nations because of famine. Then you will remember your evil ways and wicked deeds, and you will loathe yourselves for your sins and detestable practices. (Ezekiel 36:28-31)
Here again is mentioned the national repentance spoken of in
Ezekiel then describes Messiah's reign over all the nations, from Jerusalem, and the millennial prosperity He will bring to all mankind, through Israel:
I want you to know that I am not doing this for your sake, declares the Sovereign LORD. Be ashamed and disgraced for your conduct, O house of Israel!
"'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: On the day I cleanse you from all your sins, I will resettle your towns, and the ruins will be rebuilt. The desolate land will be cultivated instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass through it. They will say, "This land that was laid waste has become like the garden of Eden; the cities that were lying in ruins, desolate and destroyed, are now fortified and inhabited."
Then the nations around you that remain will know that I the LORD have rebuilt what was destroyed and have replanted what was desolate. I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it.'
"This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Once again I will yield to the plea of the house of Israel and do this for them: I will make their people as numerous as sheep, as numerous as the flocks for offerings at Jerusalem during her appointed feasts. So will the ruined cities be filled with flocks of people. Then they will know that I am the LORD." (Ezekiel 36:32-38)
Zechariah adds this insight about the Millennium:
On that day there will be no light, no cold or frost. It will be a unique day, without daytime or nighttime--a day known to the LORD. When evening comes, there will be light. On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem,half to the eastern sea and half to the western sea, in summer and in winter. The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name. The whole land, from Geba to Rimmon, south of Jerusalem, will become like the Arabah. But Jerusalem will be raised up and remain in its place, from the Benjamin Gate to the site of the First Gate, to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the royal winepresses. It will be inhabited; never again will it be destroyed. Jerusalem will be secure. (Zechariah 16:6-11)
The Last, Last War
When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth--Gog and Magog--to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (Revelation 20:7-10)
After the Millennium, Satan is allowed out of the Abyss to
rally together all who do not trust in Christ. These people would
have rebelled against Christ during the time of His righteous
reign, but they would not dare. It is most amazing that some people,
who have had the privilege of living in a perfect environment,
and who have experienced a world ruled in righteousness, will
still not accept God's plan for their lives. It gives us insight
to the fairness of their future judgment, because they simply
do not want to be with their Creator and Savior. Nothing could
ever convince them how wonderful He is. They would be unhappy in
his presence for ever, even in Heaven.
Gog and Magog are representative of rebellious nations. This imagery is taken from Ezekiel 38 and 39, an earlier war which takes place before or during the Tribulation. Once again, rebellious nations and troops who are personally rebellious against Christ will seek to overthrow His control.
This time they will be led by Satan himself.
The scene of this battle is Jerusalem, the city God loves. The outcome of this war is that those who follow Satan are destroyed by fire from above, and Satan is thrown into a Lake of Fire (compare Revelation 20:14 and 15), where Antichrist (the Beast) and the False Prophet already had been thrown at the end of the Battle of Armageddon.
The Other Resurrection
Earlier we read about the "First Resurrection." The other type of resurrection is now seen in Revelation 20:10-15, where the ungodly are raised to stand at their judgment.
Judgment of Non-believers: The Great White Throne
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them.
And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.
If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15)
This is the judgment of all who do not believe in Christ. They
will be judged according to their works. But, according to Romans
3:20, no one can be saved by the law and good works. Those who
depend on works will have their name blotted out of the Book of
Life. Even in the days of Moses, God spoke of His book and of
the fact that those who sin against Him will be blotted out of
it. (Exodus 32:32-33). The imagery here is that people's names
were at one time listed in this book, but they were blotted out
because of the sin of rejecting Christ. Those who trust in Christ
have had their sins forgiven, so their names still remain in the
In addition to the Book of Life other books are opened. This suggests that the deeds of every person are disclosed in full detail at the Great White Throne, and this in turn suggests that there may well be degrees of punishment in hell. This is hard to imagine, since hell at any level is a total, complete and final separation from God. Yet degrees of punishment would reflect the perfect justice of God which is always thorough and overlooks nothing.
Paul says that "the saints will judge the world" (1 Corinthians 6:2) so it is possible that God's people will take part in this great cosmic tribunal which is more commonly called "The Last Judgment."
Those whose names are not found in this Book of Life are consigned to the Lake of Fire. This is the most vivid of the Biblical pictures of Hell as a fiery eternity without Christ. John the Baptist spoke of an unquenchable fire (Matthew 3:12), and Jesus told of a fiery furnace (Matthew 13:40-42), the fire of Hell (Matthew 18:9). It is an eternal fire (Matthew 18:11), which was prepared for the Devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41). The New Testament word for Hell is Gehenna, which means the Valley of Hinnom. This is the name of the valley on the south side of the city of Jerusalem which served as the city dump. It was a fitting picture of a place where there are worms and the fire never dies. (Mark 9:45-48).
A New Heaven and Earth
By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire,being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.
Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.
But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. (2 Peter 3:7-13)
The Lord promised never to destroy the Earth by a flood again
(Genesis 9:11), but it is destined for a fiery judgment which
will cleanse it from all corruption and will result in a new,
even better planet.
The heavens also are in need of cleansing and renewing since they also have been defiled by the activity of Satan and his host prior to their being cast down to earth during the tribulation.
Peter's prophecies are echoed in The Revelation where the creation of a New Heaven (Revelation 21:1) and a New Earth (Revelation 21:1,3-5) are foretold.
As far as we know, this is the final realm of the believer, the place where there will be no more death, sorrow, or pain (Revelation 21:4).
Old Testament previews of this New Heaven and New Earth are also instructive.
Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.
"Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed.
They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands. They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants with them.
Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.
The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent's food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain," says the LORD. (Isaiah 65:17-25)
The Heavenly Jerusalem
In the last two chapters of the Revelation, an incredible city,
the Heavenly Jerusalem descends from Heaven to the New Earth.
This magnificent place may be what Jesus referred to in John 14:1-3
where He told His disciples that He was going away to prepare
a place for them, and that He would come again for them. He called
this place "My Father's house," and said that in it
are "many mansions."
This will apparently be the capital of the new Earth and the headquarters of Christ's operations. The things that are revealed about it correspond to the expectations of Christians in Heaven. Our Heaven will not be a cold ethereal place in outer space. This matchless city will be on a fantastic new Earth, which itself is a part of the new heavens. We will have glorified bodies like Christ's (1 Corinthians 15:40-44, 51-54) which was able to ascend into space (Acts 1:9). Perhaps we will be able to visit other heavenly locations without the aid of a space ship if it is God's will and purpose for us.
The imagery and symbolism of the New Jerusalem reflects both Israel and the church, so this heavenly city is evidently not exclusively the new home for the church only.
Here are some of the unique features of this city, as revealed in Revelation 21 and 22:
If we take literally the dimensions given for the heavenly
city, it will evidently be a sphere or cubical structure (or perhaps
pyramidal) 1500 miles on a side. If the city has one billion inhabitants,
each resident will have a cubic mile of space in which to build
his new home.
Incidentally, Jews in Israel today who are working towards the rebuilding of Israel's Third Temple speak about zones of holiness in the temple and its courts. But they also believe the Temple is intended to be a "time portal" of sorts. Perhaps in some wonderful way the New Jerusalem above, and the rebuilt Millennial City of Jerusalem in Israel, or Israel's Fourth (Ezekiel's) Temple, will be connected. But the portal will not permit any defilement to reach the New Jerusalem as Revelation 22:14-15 tells us.
Blessed [are] those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside [are] dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.
It is a wonderful thing that the Bible ends on such a victorious
note. What a glorious future the children of God have! In the
end, believing Israel, The church, and the Saints from the Tribulation
period will share together in a barely-imaginable place, in the
presence of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
We may all join in agreement with the final statement of the Revelation,
He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's people. Amen. (Revelation 22:20-21)
|Index Page||Prefatory||Chapter 1|
|Chapter 2||Chapter 3||Chapter 4|
|Chapter 5||Chapter 6||Chapter 7|
|Chapter 8||Chapter 9||Chapter 10|
|Chapter 11||Chapter 12||Chapter 13|
|Chapter 14||Chapter 15||Appendices|