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TITLE: THE MILLENNIAL REIGN OF JESUS CHRIST
Subtitle: One Thousand Years Of Utopia Finally Realized On Planet Earth
Men have long dreamed of a perfect society in which everyone can live together in peace and harmony--a world in which all needs will be met and barriers such as race, nationality, education, income, and environment non-existant. And prior to World War I many Christians believed that mankind was gradually making progress in that direction and society would get better and better until the goal was realized. However, after two World Wars and a third apparently in the making--those still holding to that belief are as hard to find as chicken dentures. But an active plan continues among occult circles in which their version of utopia will be realized by ridding the world of sectarian strife. "Religion," they say, has caused more bloodshed than any other single reason and must be abolished. And to achieve this goal they set into motion the massive world-wide program known as the "Ecumenical Movement"--spearheaded by the Pope--which is designed to bring together as many diverse systems of belief as possible and consolodate them. Then when the time is right, their "christ" will be welcomed with open arms and the master plan fully implemented. Massive "population reductions" will rid the world of undesireables (specifically those who are fiercely monotheistic--Christians, Jews, and Moslems) and the rest will subjugated and ruled--"benevolently", of course--by an intellectual and social elite. Utopia? For the masses who will spend their lives as literal serfs, the definition is hardly appropriate.
But take heart world! There is another plan--a timeless plan--by which a literal heaven on earth will be realized. Before the universe was spoken into existence, God determined that His Son would rule and reign over this world from a throne in Jerusalem. One thousand years was set as the duration and in His Word we are given many glimpses into what it will be like and how it will come to pass.
Of course the term "millennium" itself is not found in the Bible. It is made up of two words in Latin--"mille," meaning "thousand" and "annus," for year(s). However, the phrase "a thousand years" is found 10 times--twice in the Old Testament (Psalms 90:4-- Ecclesiastes 6:6), and eight times in the New.
The first reference that provides us with information about the purpose of the thousand year period is found in Revelation 20:2-3, where we read:
"And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,  And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season" (KJV).
Here we have a very clear statement that one of God's angels is going to bind Satan, cast him into the "bottomless pit" (outer space?), and set a seal upon him in order that he not be able to "deceive the nations" any more--until the thousand years are ended. And even though it is nowhere directly stated, we must infer from this that his hordes of demons are included--either imprisoned with him or otherwise rendered inactive. Then, according to God's plan, "he must be loosed a little season"--released from imprisonment for a short period of time. Why must he be released? Hang on to that question and, Lord willing, we will answer it later--because before we can offer an explanation that will make sense, more ground work must be done.
Beginning with the patriarchs whose offspring eventually became the nation of Israel, God spoke to them through His prophets and added "precept upon precept and line upon line, here a little and there a little" (Isaiah 28:10 and 13). And over time they began to piece together the fact that one day "Messiah the Prince" (Daniel 9:25-26) would come to deliver them and usher them into a golden age of peace and tranquility. And two of the main passages in the Old Testament that promise this are found in Isaiah, chapters 11 and 65:
"And there shall come forth a Shoot out of the stock of Jesse [David's father], and a Branch out of his roots shall grow and bear fruit (2) And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of knowledge and of the reverential and obedient fear of the Lord. (3) And shall make Him of quick understanding and His delight shall be in the reverential and obedient fear of the Lord. And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, neither decide by the hearing of His ears; (4) But with righteousness and justice shall He judge the poor and downtrodden of the earth; and He shall smite the earth and the oppressor with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked. (5) And righteousness shall be the girdle of His waist, and faithfulness the girdle of His loins. (6) And the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the young lion and the fatted domestic animal together, and a little child shall lead them. (7) And the cow and the bear shall feed side by side; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. (8) And the suckling child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den. (9) They shall not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. (10) And it shall be in that day that the Root of Jesse shall stand for a signal to the peoples; of Him shall the nations inquire and seek knowledge, and His dwelling shall be glory--His rest glorious! (11) And in that day the Lord shall again lift up His hand a second time to recover--acquire and deliver--the remnant of His people which is left, from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Pathros, from Ethiopia, from Elam [in Persia], from Shinar, from Hamath [in Upper Syria], and from the countries bordering on the [Mediterannean] Sea. (12) And He will raise up a signal for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. (13) The envy and jealousy of Ephraim also shall depart, and they who vex and harass Judah from outside or inside shall be cut off; Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex and harass Ephraim. (14) But [with united forces] Ephraim and Judah will swoop down upon the shoulder of the Philistine's land sloping toward the west; together they will strip the people on the east [the Arabs]. They will lay their hand upon Edom and Moab, and the Ammonites shall obey them. (15) And the Lord will utterly destroy--doom and dry up--the tongue of the Egyptian sea [the west fork of the Red Sea], and with His [mighty] scorching wind He will wave His hand over the river Nile, and will smite it into seven channels and cause men to cross over dry-shod. (16) And there shall be a highway from Assyria for the remnant left of His people, as there was for Israel when they came up out of the land of Egypt. Isaiah 11:1-16 (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible commentary)
Verses 1 through 3 are obviously speaking of Jesus Christ, the Son of God--the Messiah of Israel--during His first advent. But equally obvious is that verse 4 and following did not happen at that time. During His brief life on earth Jesus Christ did not judge the poor nor decide for the meek. He did not smite the earth with the rod of His mouth nor slay the wicked. But the day is rapidly approaching when He will! These introductory verses are telling us about what is going to happen at the close of the Tribulation Period when Jesus Christ returns to earth. His adversary, Satan, will have the combined armies of earth arrayed in the valley of Meggido, northwest of Jerusalem in a "last-ditch" attempt to fight against Him. But they will all be destroyed by "the breath of His lips" (vs.4) at Armageddon--He will but speak the Word and blood will flow to the depth of a horse's bridle! (Rev.14:20). In Matthew 24:29-31, the Lord gives us additional insight into the events that will take place:
"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: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other" (KJV)
Zechariah 12:10 tells us that at this time the "house of David" and the inhabitants of Jerusalem will "look upon Him whom they pierced" and morn. The Jewish people will finally recognize--most of them too late--that Jesus of Nazareth was in fact their promised Messiah and they committed regicide by "piercing" Him on the cross. It is the end of the Tribulation Period and they know that the "christ" they welcomed earlier is none other than Satan incarnate--the antichrist. And the realization of these facts will overwhelm them as they view the Son of God coming in "the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." His angels will scour the earth and bring every living soul--survivors of the most awful time to ever occur on earth--to appear before Jesus Christ, where He will sit as their Judge.
"When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:  And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:  And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.  Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world" Matthew 25:31-34 (KJV)
Later He will add:
"Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels" Matthew 25:41 (KJV).
This separation of the "sheep" from the "goats" and the subsequent banishment of the lost to hell is, as we saw in our last article (www.cuttingedge.org/articles/p195.htm), concurrent with the resurrection of the Tribulation Period martyrs and other saints who died of natural causes during that time. So what we have at this point is a group of living believers who have survived the Tribulation Period , along with a host of both Old and New Testament saints in glorified bodies--who will enter the "Kingdom of Heaven" together. The phrase "Kingdom of Heaven" refers to an earthly Kingdom ruled from the heavens and is synonymous with the Millennial Reign.
This brings us to Isaiah chapter 65 mentioned earlier:
"(17) For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. (18) But be glad and rejoice; for behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. (19) And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and be glad in My people; and the sound of weeping shall be no more heard in it, nor the cry of distress. (20) There shall be no more be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old man who dies prematurely, for the child shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner who dies when only a hundred years old shall be [thought only a child, cut off because he is] accursed. (21) They shall build houses and inhabit them, and they shall plant vineyards and eat the fruit of them. (22) They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat the fruit; for like the days of a tree shall be the days of My people, and My chosen and elect shall long make use of and enjoy the work of their hands. (23) They shall not labor in vain or bring forth [children] for sudden terror or calamity; for they shall be the descendants of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them. (24) And it shall be that before they call I will answer, and while they are yet speaking I will hear. (25) The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox; and dust shall be the serpent's food. They shall not hurt or destroy in all My holy Mount [Zion] says the Lord" Isaiah 65:17-25 (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible commentary, emphasis mine).
Verse 17 catches our attention because it sounds very similar to a statement made by the apostle John in Revelation 21:1, in which he says that he saw "a new heaven and a new earth." But we believe the two events are actually separated by the thousand years as we hope to demonstrate. Notice the passage in Isaiah 65 says "new heavens (plural) and a new earth." The Hebrew word translated "heavens" refers to the sky and not the abode of God--which we believe is the case in Rev.21:1--even though the Greek ouranos can also refer to the sky. The reason we believe that they are separate creative acts is because of what we find in Isaiah chapter 40: (the second will be covered later).
"Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.  Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins.  The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.  Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:  And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it" Isaiah 40:1-5 (KJV, emphasis mine).
As we stated at the outset, man has always yearned for a perfect environment, blaming the lack of it, along with other factors--such as poverty, ignorance, etc.--for the lawlessness of mankind. In other words these things have been, and still are, used as an excuse to deny the fact of man's inherent sinfulness--his fallen nature, the depravity of his heart. So God is going to fill in every valley, lower every mountain, and in general renovate the earth! It is my opinion that God is going to restore the earth to its original "Garden of Eden" environment and the tree of life will once again be made available (Rev. 2:7 and 22:2). Note that in the preceding passages, it repeatedly states that the lamb will live and feed with the wolf and the lion will eat straw like an ox. In Eden before the fall of man, the rose did not have thorns and animals did not have fangs. The "survival of the fittest" with its meat-eating carnivores came about in nature as a direct result of Adam's fall from grace. Paul speaks to this fact in Romans 8:
"For (even the whole) creation (all nature) waits expectantly and longs earnestly for God's sons to be made known--waits for the revealing, the disclosing of their sonship. (2) For the creation (nature) was subjected to frailty--to futility, condemned to frustration--not because of some intentional fault on its part, but by the will of Him Who so subjected it. [Yet] with the hope (21) That nature (creation) itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and corruption [and gain an entrance] into the glorious freedom of God's children" Romans 8:19-22 (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible commentary).
Then when we refer back to Isaiah 11 above, we see in verse 9 where "they" (the animals) will not "...hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." Not only will mankind be "full of the knowledge of the Lord," but the instincts of the animal kingdom will be changed as well and all will be tranquil and serene. Satan and his demons will be captive and no one will be able to make a legitimate claim that, "The devil made me do it!"--as in the humorous line made popular by the comedian Flip Wilson a few years ago.
But lest I get too far ahead, we need to consider the last comments of Isaiah 11--which deal with the remnant of Israel--those elect members among God's chosen people who have been hounded to the ends of the earth by the forces of antichrist, but have survived. According to Daniel 12:11-13, the interval between the end of the Tribulation Period and the establishment of the Kingdom, appears to be 45 days. And the way verses 11-16 of Isaiah 11 read, it appears that during this time--before the sheep and goat judgment--God will lead the remnant of Israel back to the Promised Land of Caanan and in coming they will "strip" the Arabs, lay their hands on the peoples of Edom and Moab, and the Ammonites will obey them! Those coming from the area of Assyria will have the "way paved before them" as God clears out all obstructions and those coming from Egypt and the south will be able to cross the Nile River "dry-shod"--without getting their feet wet! The statement that the "people on the east"--the Arabs--will be stripped, argues for the fact that the sheep and goat judgment will not have taken place at that point.
Once the judgment is completed, the elect survivors of the Tribulation Period--still in mortal bodies--will enter the Kingdom to populate it. But we must not forget that an innumerable host of resurrected saints possessing glorified bodies--just like the one now occupied by the Lord Jesus Christ--will enter the Kingdom as well. Apparently the Old Testament saints will join with their Tribulation Period counterparts in making up the core constituency of the populace--a society in which Israel will be the center of the earth and Jerusalem the home of the King. The elect of the Church Age will serve in many different supervisory positions--the relative importance of each probably determined by the Lord at the Judgment Seat of Christ. But our primary focus must be upon those who enter as sinful humans. Each and every one of them will be saved, but still in a body of flesh and therefore possessing a depraved nature. This is a very important point and we must not overlook it. The Jewish remnant among them will doubtless be ecstatic! They will have finally realized the dream of Jews for thousands of years--being able to live under the rule of their Messiah in a wonderful state of peace and tranquility. Isaiah 11 tells us that "Ephraim and Judah" (God's names for the two factions in Israel's civil war) will unite and not "vex" each other any more.
So the picture we have before us is one of utter and absolute happiness! And as we turn to Isaiah 65 again, we find that God says in verse 18:
"But be glad and rejoice; for behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. (19) And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and be glad in My people; and the sound of weeping shall be no more heard in it, nor the cry of distress"
In A.D.70, both Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed by the Roman legions of general Titus. And from that day until God creates "Jerusalem a rejoicing and her people a joy," the city and her people will be anything but joyful. But during the Millennium, Jerusalem will literally be the site of the throne of God and joy will be the order of the day:
"And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away" Isaiah 35:10 (KJV)
"For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody" Isaiah 51:3 (KJV, emphasis mine). ("Garden of the Lord" refers to the Garden of Eden)
"For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them" Isaiah 61:7 (KJV)
"For thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees" Isaiah 66:12 (KJV)
Not only are they living in a perfect environment and have every conceivable need met, they are also under a perfect government. The Lord God Himself rules "with a rod of iron" (Rev.12:5) and lie detectors are not needed! Wrongdoers will be caught immediately and punished under a system of perfect justice. Imagine, if you can, the inclination to do wrong coupled with the knowledge of not being able to "get away with it." My imagination tells me that for the most part, this will be a thousand years of self-imposed "righteousness" by those still in mortal bodies! But lurking beneath this idyllic surface is the hideous fact of human depravity. And as the centuries pass, multiplied millions of children will be born to to the original inhabitants--each of them as depraved as their parents--born in trespasses and sins (Eph.2:1). And like their parents before them, they will be required to believe or perish. Their environment will include-- as the central element--a perfect system of worship in which God Himself will be living among them and demonstrating all of His perfections on a daily basis. There will be no excuse for lack of worship and it will be expected of every creature, but belief--absolute and unwavering trust in Jesus Christ--will be given "lip service" by the unsaved among them. Will their false worship go unnoticed? Of course not! The Lord knows what is in their hearts and their pretense will be revealed in due time. Without a doubt, some among them will be so hard-hearted that they could not care less and will make no effort to hide their sinfulness. These, I believe, will be among those the Lord refers to in verse 20 of Isaiah 65:
"There shall be no more be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old man who dies prematurely, for the child shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner who dies when only a hundred years old shall be [thought only a child, cut off because he is] accursed" (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible commentary).
Long life, enjoyed by mankind prior to the judgment flood of Noah, will be restored during this time and some of the accursed will die at the age of one hundred (or more) and be thought merely a child!
Then beginning with verse 21 of Isaiah 65, we find the Lord stating a principle of the Kingdom which speaks directly to the hearts of the descendants of Israel (Jacob). Throughout their long and checkered history, they have been through many periods of revival, subsequent decline, and then judgment. God's blessings upon them during the times of spiritual revival always resulted in material gains--houses, lands, and bountiful crops. But inevitably these things would be lost to invading armies in times of judgment as God punished them for their sin. And this "revolving door," up-and-down, endless cycle underscores the fact that the only thing we learn from history is that we do not learn from history! Please note I said "we," because Israel is representative of all mankind in this respect. But during the Kingdom, God says this cycle will be broken--all will be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor, without another taking it from them. And for those brethren who still insist that the Kingdom will not last a thousand years, all I can say is take a close look at verse 22:
(22) They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat the fruit; for like the days of a tree shall be the days of My people, and My chosen and elect shall long make use of and enjoy the work of their hands.
"Like a tree shall be the days of My people" and long shall they make use of and enjoy the work of their hands. The "General Sherman" Sequoia in California's Sequoia National Park--a living tree-- is now estimated to be about 3500 years old! But even at that advanced age, it does not qualify for the world's oldest. That distinction belongs to the "Bristlecone Pine" species growing in the White Mountains of eastern California--many of them believed to be over 4,000 years old. And that length of time indicates they probably sprouted shortly after the flood waters receded in the days of Noah. So living a thousand years is not such a stretch of the imagination. Prior to the flood, Methuselah lived to be 969 (Gen.5:27) and he was not living in a perfect environment.
And in the next verse (23 of Isaiah 65) we find that children will be born to them:
(23) They shall not labor in vain or bring forth [children] for sudden terror or calamity; for they shall be the descendants of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them.
Even a relatively small number of Tribulation Period survivors entering the Kingdom would result in a population of many millions (possibly billions), after living for a thousand years in a perfect environment. This would, in many respects, mirror the population prior to the flood of Noah's day.
Finally we come to the question raised at the beginning--Why must Satan be "loosed a little season"? The answer is, to prove to "the principalities and powers"--the angelic hosts of the supernatural sphere, both "good and bad"--that Satan's alternative plan to run things is a lie and will not work. According to what we can piece together from accounts in the Bible, he is jealous of God and insists that his way is better. This jealousy led to a rebellion in heaven, in which one third of the angels were apparently enticed to join with him (Rev.12:4). These are fallen angels the Bible calls "devils" (literally "demons")--foul and unholy spirits which still plague humanity to this very hour. In the Garden of Eden Satan tempted, or tested, Eve by making three basic assertions: Number one was, "Yea, hath God said?" (Genesis 3:1). In other words, "Did God really say this?"--thereby casting doubt upon the Word of God. Secondly, he made the statement, "Ye shalt not surely die!" But God had told Adam and Eve when placing the prohibition upon eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, that "in the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die." (Genesis 2:17). So number two was a blatant lie and a contradiction of the Word of God. Both Adam and Eve suffered immediate spiritual death upon eating of the forbidden fruit and began the process of dying physically. Then surprisingly enough--number three was the truth! Or at the very least, partially so--because God did know that through the sin of disobedience their eyes would be opened to the difference between good and evil. But for two people created perfect in every respect, that knowledge was not something to be desired! And as their offspring, all of us who are mentally competent know the difference--but view it from the perspective of being at the bottom of an infinite spiritual chasm (compare the "great gulf" of Luke 16:26). Total depravity is the result of orignal sin and the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ the only possible solution, if anyone is to be rescued from that chasm. The perfection required by God's own holiness and righteousness, dictates that He alone is qualified to pay the debt! The Bible teaches the principle that "the wages of sin is death" (Rom.6:23), so God Himself had to die a sacrificial death if He was to redeem sinful and fallen men. This He did on the cross in the Person of His Son, Jesus Christ.
So if we study very carefully the subjects of sin and eternal salvation as they are presented in the Bible and then compare God's claims with Satan's claims, we find that the two concepts are as far apart as light and darkness! God says that He must save man and Satan says man can save himself. God says "trust in Christ for salvation" and Satan says "earn salvation by doing good works." Therefore, it is this supernatural clash of two opposing wills that provides us with the explanation for why Satan "must be loosed for a little season." By releasing him, God intends to prove to all creatures--both supernatural and human--that the sinful, depraved human heart has been the cause of man's problems all along and not his environment, education, ethnicity, money, food, etc., or the lack thereof.
We are now at the end of the thousand year reign of Jesus Christ and must bear in mind that everything in the entire world has been perfect for the duration. There have been no wars, no hunger, poverty, disease, crime, or any good thing withheld from mortal man and he is left with no excuse for wrong behavior. Then into this idyllic scene Satan is suddenly introduced, having been released from his prison. He behaves as predictably as always and immediately begins to entice men to rebel, convincing them that Jesus Christ must be overthrown so that he can take His place and be their king. The pent-up resentment and anger in sinful hearts forced to "behave" for a thousand years because of not being able to do wrong and get away with it (like many kids who grow up under the strict discipline of parents!), explodes and multiplied billions (Rev.20:8--"the number of whom is as the sand of the sea") quickly succomb to Satan's wiles and enlist in his "army". With murderous intent they rally together and march upon the holy city of Jerusalem and the throne of their King. And once they have the city surrounded, fire will come "down from heaven and devour them all" (Rev.20:9). Their actions will prove for the rest of time and all eternity that God is right and the devil wrong. Unregenerate man is spiritually dead and his very nature holds nothing but enmity for God. No amount of "good deeds" or good intentions on his part can possibly merit eternal life and he does wrong--he sins--because of his sinful nature. As has been said so many times--we sin because we are sinners, not sinners because we sin. Satan's lie has always been that man is not depraved and still retains "a spark of divinity within him"--needing only to be developed--and he (Satan) is just the one to develop it! An insatiable quest for enlightenment has long been the hallmark of the "dark side" and secret societies such as the Rosicrucians and Freemasons--along with many allied groups--seek eternal life through their own works. Cain, the first-born son of Adam and Eve refused to offer the sacrifice God required--the blood of an innocent animal--and insisted upon the fruit of his own labor. And that clash of wills at the dawn of mankind marked the dividing line between faith and works. The subject we are now considering marks the ultimate end of the latter!
Once the ridiculous attempt at rebellion is neutralized, Satan will finally "get what's coming to him"! He will be thrown into the lake of fire, where he will join the Beast and the False Prophet--reuniting the unholy trinity for an eternity of torment. Then the Great White Throne judgment will take place in which the lost of all ages--the unregenerate spirits of those without Christ, including those just consumed by fire while following Satan--will be judged according to their deeds, as recorded in the "books" (plural) (Rev.20:12). (And prosecution exhibit number one will be the fact that not one of their names will be found in "the book" (singular)--the "Lamb's Book of Life" Rev.21:27). Eternal punishment will be meted out in proportion to the relative degree that sin ruled their lives. In other words, this judgment of works will mean that "moral" men will not be judged as harshly as the extremely wicked.
But even though at this point sin has been judged and the masses of unregenerate men consigned to their eternal fate, more "loose ends" must be tied up. The two inescapable facts of human life-- the abstract concepts of death and the grave ("hell" in KJV)--are finally obsolete and are themselves (figuratively) cast into the lake of fire (Rev.20:14). This bears out what the apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:26--that the last enemy to be destroyed will be death.
Then we come to Revelation 21:1 (referred to earlier) in which the apostle John sees "a new heaven and a new earth." We have already mentioned that God apparently "renovated" the earth just prior to the Millinneum and restored it to its Edenic beauty, so what is meant by this statement? I believe we find the answer in 2 Peter chapter three:
"(1) Beloved, I am now writing you this second letter. In [both of] them I have stirred up your unsullied (sincere) mind by way of remembrance; (2) That you should recall the predictions of the holy (consecrated, dedicated) prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior [given] through your apostles, [His] special messengers. (3) To begin with, you must know and understand this, that scoffers (mockers) will come in the last days with scoffing; [people who] walk after their own fleshly desires. (4) And saying, Where is the promise of His coming? For since the forefathers fell asleep, all things have continued exactly as they did from the beginning of creation. (5) For they willfully overlook and forget this [fact], that heavens [came into] existence long ago by the word of God, and an earth also which was formed out of water and by means of water, (6) Through which the world that then [existed] was deluged with water and perished. (7) But by the same word the present heavens and earth have been stored up (reserved) for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly people. (8) Nevertheless, do not let this one fact escape you, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. (9) The Lord does not delay and be tardy or slow about what He promises, according to some people's conception of slowness, but He is long-suffering (extraordinarily patient) toward you, not desiring that any should perish, but that all should turn to repentance. (10) But the day of the Lord will come as a thief, and then the heavens will vanish (pass away) with a thunderous crash, and the [material] elements [of the universe] will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up" 2 Peter 3:1-10 (Parallel Bible, KJV/ Amplified Bible commentary, emphasis mine).
Why do I think (as I stated earlier) that there must be two separate "renovations" of the earth? Notice verse 7 refers to the earth as being "stored up (reserved) for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly people." This gives us the time frame for the "new heavens and new earth" of Revelation 21:1, that will come after the Great White Throne Judgment of 20:11-15, and in which the ungodly people are judged and destroyed.
Next, we must understand that the "day of the Lord" (vs.10) refers to the entire period from the Tribulation Period through the events that take place after the Millennium. The comma after "...come as a thief(,)...." separates the beginning from the end. The day of the Lord will begin with a surprise and end with a crash! Notice again that verse 7 says the "...heavens and earth have been stored up (reserved) for fire...." Why would God reserve the earth and its atmosphere (heavens) for fire? Why would He want to want to destroy it, now that it has been restored to its original beauty? The fingerprints of Satan and sin are all over it! The "heavens"--the atmosphere surrounding the earth was the abode of Satan and his hordes of demons. (He is referred to in Ephesians 2:2 as "The prince of the power of the air"). And multiplied millions have just demonstrated the hideous reality of sin in their lives through rebellion. The entire earth and everything surrounding it reeks of sinfulness--so the concept of sin itself, like death and the grave, must be dealt with and all reminders of them removed from existence. And for those who insist man's works are acceptable to God, please take note of the final phrase, "....and the works that are upon it will be burned up."
But the events described in the Book of Revelation cannot be in strict chronological order, because to take that position causes many insurmountable problems for a sensible exegesis of the text. The cart will get before the horse and tangle up everything! A case in point is found in Chapter 21 where the "holy city new Jerusalem" is concerned. This tremendously large (vs.16) "city"--described by the angel in verse 9 as being the "bride, the Lamb's wife"--refers to the eternal abode of the Church of Jesus Christ. Both the city and its inhabitants are described using "overlapping" terms. And the appearance of it--seemingly at the very end of things--causes us some problems. Why? Well, for starters, Galatians 3:28 tells us:
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus" (KJV)
National origins, social rank, and gender have no bearing once we are in Christ and it seems entirely reasonable to conclude that they will not label us during eternity. This being the case, verses 24 and 26 give us pause! Those verses are as follows:
"And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it" Rev. 21:24 (KJV, emphasis mine).
"And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it" Rev. 21:26 (KJV, emphasis mine)
Furthermore, verse 27 tells us:
"And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life" Rev. 21:27 (KJV)
And to this we add these additional comments of Chapter 22:
"Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.  For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie" Rev. 22:14-15 (KJV)
From these four passages we gather that the redeemed ("the nations of them which are saved")--the ethnic distinctions still active--as well as "the kings of the earth," will be going in and out of the city. And not only that, the ungodly are "without", or outside the gates. All of this taken together leads us to believe that the heavenly city, new Jerusalem, will somehow be accessable from the earth and available to redeemed humans (still in mortal bodies) throughout the Millennium. Great numbers of people on earth will be unregenerate, doing their best to hide their sin--but will not be allowed to enter. Additionally, verse two of Chapter 22 tells us that the leaves of the tree of life will be "for the healing of the nations." Men in glorified bodies will have no need for healing! This fact alone should tell us that the time frame of these passages do not place them in eternity. And according to Strong's Concordance, the Greek word ethnos translated "nations" is:
"probably from Greek 1486 (etho); a race (as of the same habit), i.e. a tribe; specially a foreign (non-Jewish) one (usually by implication pagan) :- Gentile, heathen, nation, people"
So we see that this word has more of an application to the Gentiles than the Jews and just lends further credence to our premise. The distinctions which identify ethnicities will still be applied during the Millennium, because the Jews obviously maintain their racial identity and all 12 tribes of Israel will be judged, or ruled, by the 12 apostles (Luke 22:30). This being the case, verses 3-8 of Chapter 21 appear to be parenthetical (and stated in the future tense) because they obviously refer to the eternal state--specifically, verse 4 which states that "there shall be no more death."
Some conservative Bible teachers say that the "new heavens and new earth" of Rev. 21:1 refers to the renovation of the earth at the beginning of the Millennium, because of the mention that "there was no more sea." This, they think, tells us the land mass will be greatly increased to accomodate the population explosion. (There will obviously be plenty of fresh water, because mortals must have it to live). This teaching may be correct, because the Lord does say in verse 5, "Behold I make all things new" and could easily correspond to the passage in 2 Peter in which the earth is renovated by fire. But regardless of which passage matches up, it seems clear that two separate events are in view--at the beginning and end of the thousand years.
Well, as best as I can determine, there is just one more loose end to tie up. We have seen how the Millennium will conclude and eternity begin. The thousand-year reign of Jesus Christ has now come to an end and some divine "re-organization" must be done. David, "the sweet psalmist of Israel" made the following prophetic statement:
"The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool" Psalm 110:1 (KJV).
All of the Lord's enemies are finally His "footstool" and have been consigned to their eternal fate. During the interim, He has been at the right hand of God the Father and Sovereign over all things. Colossians 1:18 tells us that "in all things He must have the preeminence" and for this to be the case it seems reasonable to conclude that God the Father and God the Holy Spirit must concur. For that reason, I believe the Trinity is presently somewhat "out of balance"--with the Son of God receiving the honor and glory due Him for the magnitude of His sacrifice on the cross. But once the earthly Kingdom has ended, this must be corrected and I believe that is what we see in the following passage:
"For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.  But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.  Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power" 1 Cor. 15:22-24 (KJV, emphasis mine).
Our Lord has now "put down," or destroyed, all opposition and it is time to deliver the Kingdom to God the Father. Once this is done and the Godhead reverts back to its condition prior to creation, time will cease to exist and all the redeemed will experience the "ever-present now" of the eternal state.
In closing we feel it fitting to quote Revelation 21:3-4--the blessed hope we have in Christ:
"And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away" (KJV).
Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
If you have been born again and received Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, but have been very lukewarm in your spiritual walk with Him, you need to immediately ask Him for forgiveness and for renewal. He will instantly forgive you, and fill your heart with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Then, you need to begin a daily walk of prayer and personal Bible Study.
If you have never placed your trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior, but have come to sense His reality and the approaching End of the Age, and want to receive His FREE Gift of Eternal Life, you can do so now, in the privacy of your home. Once you truly believe in Him as Lord and Savior, you are spiritually Born Again, and are as assured of Heaven as if you were already there. Then, you can rest assured that the Kingdom of Antichrist will not touch you spiritually. If you would like to become Born Again, turn to our Salvation Page now.
We hope you have been blessed by this ministry, which seeks to educate and warn people, so that they can see the coming New World Order—Kingdom of Antichrist—in their daily news.
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