End-Time Prophecy

PART 4 - The Eternal Reign of Christ. - The End of the Millennium.

THE END OF THE MILLENNIUM 
One thing the Old Testament prophets did not reveal is how the 1000 Year reign of Christ would end.

Revelation 20:7-10:  Now when the 1000 years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea.   They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city.   And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.   The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are.  And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.    One reason that satan was not put in the Lake of Fire earlier is that Adam, by his original sin, gave satan the right to test each man’s loyalty to God and tempt them away from God.

Now those who initially enter the Millennial Kingdom are all believers (sheep). 
Matthew 25:31-34: When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.   All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep (believers) from the goats (unbelievers).  And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.  Then the King will say to those on His right hand, Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 
But for 1000 years people have been born who have not been tempted by satan because he has been in prison.   However, they are still born in sin and will need salvation through the Blood of Christ and the New Covenant.   We saw that the main function of the Temple sacrifices was to teach this truth of Christ’s Atoning Death in a world where death has largely been removed.

However, many, while outwardly conforming to the rule of Christ, inwardly will not receive Him as their Lord and Saviour.    But when satan is released to deceive the Gentile nations (all Israelites will be believers in the Millennium - Jer 31:34) their true hearts are revealed and they join a great rebellion against Christ to throw off His rule, laying siege against Jerusalem and His throne there.   As satan leaves his prison, he finds no ‘action’ in Israel but as he goes out further, he finds willing hearts who do not want Christ as King.  Faith is shown by actions, and their unbelief is revealed by their siding with the devil when given the opportunity.

The reference to ‘Gog and Magog’ does not identify this battle with Ezekiel 38,39 which clearly belongs to an earlier time.  Gog is a word referring to the leader of the nation and ‘Magog’ means the people under Gog.  Satan will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog (the leaders and their people), to gather them together to battle.”   So satan and his angels will deceive many nations by primarily focusing on their leaders.  This passage indicates that whole nations and their leaders will be involved.  The massive number of people in this rebellion- as the sand of the sea indicates a population explosion during the Millennium. They attack Israel and Jerusalem which stay loyal to Jesus Christ.

God is also exposing through this rebellion the lie that ‘man is not sinful’ or that evil is due only to bad conditions, poverty, etc.   But here we see people (perhaps the majority) who have enjoyed a perfect environment of peace and prosperity for 1000 years and still they rebel and want to destroy the good.  This is because the human heart is sinful and needs salvation through Christ.  Therefore God again proves that all men, whatever conditions they live under, need saving by the Blood of Jesus.

The rebels are judged by fire from Heaven (possibly from the New Jerusalem if it is orbiting above) and enter Hades (under the earth) where all other God-rejecters are awaiting judgment.

Satan and his angels are cast into the Lake of Fire - a place of eternal conscious torment (Revelation 14:10,11), joining the beast and false-prophet (Revelation 19:20).  In fact, this Lake was originally built for satan but all who side with him against God must share his judgment and destiny: He will say to those on the left, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41).  We are now at the end of time and God is finally removing all sin and rebels in order to establish His Eternal Kingdom which has been His purpose from the beginning.   So now we see the devil and his angels in the Lake of Fire and the Millennial rebels removed from the earth.

At this time the believers alive during the Millennium must be translated into their resurrection bodies, much like those alive at the Rapture will be changed. They will then live in the Heavenly Jerusalem as their eternal home.

However glorious the Millennium will be, it is not perfection.   It is not to be confused with the Eternal State.  There is still sin, curse and death although these are pushed back to a large extent.   But God has something better for eternity. However, there will be a number of aspects that will continue from the Millennium Kingdom into Eternity, so the Millennium in one sense is a forerunner and foretaste of eternity:

1.  The reign of Christ will not just be for 1000 years but will be forever:  
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder.  His name will be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever.   The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this (Isaiah 9:6,7). 
The Lamb is still upon the Throne in Rev 22:1: He showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.

2.   The New (Heavenly) Jerusalem will be the eternal home of all resurrected saints even in the Millennium. 
  
THE DESTRUCTION OF HEAVEN and EARTH 
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away.  And there was found no place for them (Rev 20:11).  This present earth and heaven have been corrupted by sin and the curse, and will be replaced by a new Heaven and earth.

This is confirmed later in Revelation 21:1: 
Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth,for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.

2 Peter 3:7-15: But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word (of God), are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men (this agrees with the timing of Rev20 -the destruction happens at the time of final judgment for unbelievers).   This is after the Millennium, that is, after the 7000 years.  Peter now reminds us that God has a plan and timing to accomplish all of this.  But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a 1000 years, and a 1000 years as one day.  He will bring all things to an end after a week of 7 DAYS of 1000 years.  That is, God has planned to fulfil His purposes and bring things to their Eternal State in 7000 years.

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is long suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

But the DAY of the Lord will come as a thief in the night (the final 1000 years will be preceded by the Tribulation judgments), in which (actually at the close of this DAY) the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; 
both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.

Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening (toward) the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?  Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the long suffering of our Lord is salvation.

Jesus spoke of this destruction in Matthew 24:35: 
Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

Hebrews 1:10-12 quoting Psalm 102:25-27 tells us that it is Jesus Christ Himself Who will perform it. 
But to the Son He says (v8):.... You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands.  They will perish, but You remain; and they will all grow old like a garment.  Like a cloak You will fold them up, and they will be changed.  But You are the same, and Your years will not fail.

Before this destruction all living humanity must be removed from the earth, which implies they must be resurrected, for the present space-time-matter universe will be dissolved.  the inhabitants of the Millennial earth will get a resurrected body and take up their eternal home in the New Jerusalem.  The Great White Throne, like the New Jerusalem is in eternity (outside the present material heavens and earth).

THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT 
Revelation 20:11-15:  Then I saw a Great White Throne and Him who sat on it, 
from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away.   And there was found no place for them. 
And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God (resurrection = 'to stand up again'), 
and books were opened. and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life and the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.  Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  Anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

The One on the Throne is the Lord Jesus Christ (John 5:22, Acts 10:42). 
Those being judged are ‘the DEAD.’    At this point all unbelievers are physically dead and their souls are in Hades (a temporary holding cell for those awaiting resurrection and judgment).    Moreover they are spiritually dead. The dead include those recently killed in the fire that fell from heaven.

On the other hand, all believers are now ALIVE, both spiritually and physically.  Therefore only unbelievers will stand in this judgment.  At this point they will be resurrected - this is the second resurrection (the first resurrection was the resurrection of believers).   The resurrection of unbelievers is seen in Revelation 20:13 where Death and Hades gives up its dead and as a result they stand before God in their bodies (v12).   John 5:29 and Daniel 12:2 also describe this resurrection.

Matthew 5:29,30 confirms that unbelievers go into Hell-Fire, in their bodies: 
It is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, 
than for your whole body to be cast into hell (Gehenna). 
Notice that no one escapes - all (great or small) wherever they died (land or sea) will have their bodies raised.  All their souls leave Hades to be reunited with their bodies so Hades is thrown into the Lake of Fire because it is emptied and the spirit of Death has finished his work and is defeated and so is thrown in also.

There are two kinds of Books involved in the Judgement: 
(1) The Lamb’s BOOK of Life (Psalm 69:28;139:16; Luke 10:20; Rev 3:5, 13:8, 17:8). 
This is God’s family album of names of those saved through the Blood of the Lamb.  From eternity, God knows those who are His - those who are forever written within.  When born, your name was written (provisionally) in the Book of Life (because you are physically alive and under God's mercy with a chance to respond to God), but if you die having rejected Jesus Christ, it is blotted out.  You have this life-time to decide.  When you believe in Christ, your name is in the Book and stays in, even when you die.   From God's viewpoint your name was engraved from the foundation of the world.  From our viewpoint, when you were born your Name was written down, but when you were born-again, it was established forever in the Book.    God writing our Name in His Book when we are born signifies that His grace in Christ is upon us in this life (2Cor6:2, Rom5:18) and if someone dies before their age of accountability (e.g: a baby), they will go to heaven.

However all those who will stand before the White Throne ('the dead') will have rejected God's offer of salvation, 
choosing instead to trust in and stand upon their good works (self-righteousness).

(2) Therefore God opens the Book of their Works to see if their works are sufficient to save them: 
and books were opened.... and the dead were judged according to their works, 
by the things which were written in the books...and they were judged, each one according to his works. 
(Their sins were covered by Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross - the only sin sending them to Hell is the sin of rejecting Christ).  Of course, their works, being but 'filthy rags' are not sufficient to save them and all who are not in the Book of Life go into the Lake of Fire.

God's Book of Life determines your eternal destiny. 
Rev20:12,15: Another book was opened, which is the Book of Life 
......Anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. 
Re 21:27:  But there shall by no means enter it (Heaven) anything that defiles, 
or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.

The final list of names in the Book was known and fixed by God from the foundation of the world (election): 
Rev 17:8: The beast (anti-christ) that you saw was, and is not, 
and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. 
And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, 
- whose names were not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, 
when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. 
God foreknows from eternity those (the believers) who are written in the Book eternally (from the foundation of the world),and He knows which names will be blotted out because of their rejection of Christ (cf: Eph1:4).Their heart will be revealed by whether they take the mark or not.  Only unbelievers will take it, and by doing so they make their final choice to reject God (committing the unforgivable sin), and thus seal their fate.

Those who follow the antichrist and take his mark do not have their names in the Book (they are blotted out): 
Rev 13:8: All who dwell on the earth will worship him (antichrist), 
whose names are not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain - from the foundation of the world. 
It is called the Book of the Lamb because their names are only there because of His sacrifice - it is written in His blood.

If this Book was written from eternity then how can we understand the writing and deleting of names in time to which different scriptures refer?  This is another manifestation of the parallel truths of Divine Election and human Free-Will, both of which are taught in the Bible and thus both influence the Book of Life.

First, we notice that the popular idea that our name is written down in the Book when accept Christ as our Lord and Saviour, is not supported by any scripture.  Instead, the Bible talks only of names of people BLOTTED out for rejecting God:

Exodus 32:32,33:  Yet now, if You will forgive their sin - but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written. 
And the LORD said to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My Book.

Rev 22:19: if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy (rejecting the Word of God) 
God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book..

How does this 'blotting out' fit with the fact that the Book of Life was written from eternity?

Psalm 69:28: Let them be blotted out of the Book of the Living, 
and not be written with the righteous. 
This scripture implies all those who are alive physically are written in the Book of Life (which therefore changes with time), but if they die godless (after the age of accountability) they are blotted out.  It therefore records those who are living in His sight, either physically or spiritually -who have not passed the point of no hope.  The people in Psalm 69:28 are those who have rejected Jesus Christ (it is a Messianic Psalm).  They have already commited the unforgivable sin (a final choice to reject Christ and His salvation).   They have sinned so badly they (already being dead spiritually) are consigned to physical death at which point their names are also blotted out (their chance to repent is gone forever).  Ultimately it is only the righteous (through receiving the righteousness of Christ) who are permanently (eternally) written in the Book signifying that they are sealed into eternal life in the presence of God.

Those who have believed in their life-time remain written in the Book even beyond physical death because they remain alive before God.    Therefore, at the end of time, as time moves into the eternal state, the Book assumes its eternal (fixed) form, only containing the names of believers and will do so for all eternity-future.   Thus the names in the Book established from eternity past agree with the names written for eternity future, being exactly the names of those born into the human race who were not blotted out because of unbelief.   Thus the Book can be seen from the two viewpoints of eternity and time.  Some scriptures clearly refer to the eternal form of the Book, and others to its temporal (changing) form.   There is no contradiction because ultimately the temporary records come into agreement with the eternal ones.  The eternal Book of Life is unchanging (because of God's Sovereignty or Choice), but its manifestation in time necessarily changes (because of human sovereignty or free-will).

Psalm 69:28 brings together both aspects of the Book: 
Let them be blotted out of the Book of the Living 
(the temporal form of the Book recording those presently alive before God - physically or spiritually) 
and not be written (in the Book of Life) with the righteous 
(in the eternal form of the Book, thus they are excluded from eternal life). 
Thus the first clause is a prayer for their physical death, resulting in the removal of their name since they will die in sin.  The second clause describes the necessary consequence, that their name will not be in the eternal Book because only the name of the righteous will stand in eternity.   The wicked are blown away like chaff.

Don't be blotted out! - Is your name eternally written in the Book of Life? 
- you can know for sure by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ:

Luke10:20: Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, 
but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.

Philip 4:3:  And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life.

Daniel 12:1: And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered - every one who is found written in the book. 
And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.

Rev 3:5: He who overcomes (a true believer) shall be clothed in white garments, and I will (surely) not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name (as a son of God) before My Father and before His angels (causing our resurrection).

Isa 49:16: See, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands. 
  
Either your SINS will be blotted out, or your NAME will be! 
Isa 44:22: I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, 
and like a cloud, your sins. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you. 
Acts 3:19: Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord 
  
The Lake of Fire
 is the final state and eternal destiny of the lost. 
It is called the second death - an eternal separation from the goodness (life) of God.  Although believers die once, unbelievers will be raised and then suffer an eternal death.  This is what most people think of as HELL, a word that the KJV confusingly uses to translate HADES (Greek) or SHEOL (Hebrew), the place where unbelieving souls go after death at this present time.  When Jesus referred to the Lake of Fire, He called it GEHENNA, after the Valley of Hinnom, a deep and narrow valley south of Jerusalem (Matthew 5:22,29,30; 10:28; 18:9; 25:15,33; Mark 9:43-47; Luke 12:5; James 3:6; also Matthew 3:12;13:41,42) where children were sacrificed in fires to Molech (2Chronicles 28:1-4, 33:6; 2Kings 23:10; Jer 7:31-33).  In Jesus’ time, it was a rubbish dump where the rubbish was burnt in a perpetual fire and where worms thrived.  Hence, Jesus used it as a picture of the fires of Hell where God burns His rubbish - those who refuse to be salvaged (saved), and turned (changed) into something worthwhile as subjects in God’s Kingdom.

Degrees of punishment - there are greater and lesser sins (John 19:11) and different levels of pain in Hell (Matthew 11:20-24; Luke 12:47-48).   Those who reject Christ having known (of) Him will suffer greater punishment.  No sin will be committed in eternity (Philippians 2:9-11; 1Cor 15:25).   Therefore everyone will descend to the level of pain necessary to restrain their rebellious sin-nature.  Even satan will be forced to bow his knee forever.  There are no parties in Hell!   This is what Mark refers to as SALT - that which restrains corruption.   You can either have salt within yourself, being constrained by the grace of God, or be salted externally by fire.  Either way you will not sin in eternity.

Mark 9:43-50: If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. 
It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched, 
where Their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched. 
And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. 
It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched, 
where Their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched. 
And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. 
It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire, 
where Their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched. 
For everyone will be seasoned with fire, 
and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt. 
Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavour, how will you season it? 
Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another.

Sodom is a demonstration of how God will judge the world by FIRE and SALT, to put an end to sin.   The fire and salt stopped sin in that region.    In Mark 9, Jesus has been warning about Hell: where their worm(torment) dies not, and FIRE is not quenched (v48).   His message to believers is: 'Salt is good but if the salt has lost its saltiness wherewith shall you season it?   Have salt in yourselves and have peace with one another' (v50).   Salt is the Word of God, the power of God.  Have salt in yourselves, receive God’s Life within that stops the corruption of sin. Then we will also be a witness, a salty savour to others.   Jesus was telling His disciples to walk in God’s love and grace, not  strife, pushing for status.

His warning to unbelievers is: Everyone shall be SALTED with FIRE (v49). You can either have salt within yourself or you’ll be salted from the outside like Lot’s wife.    Salt is what stops sin.   If you don’t  receive salt on the inside, you’ll be salted from the outside and that’s judgment.  If you don’t receive the salt (the grace and word) of God inside you now,  you will still be salted, but with FIRE.

God will no longer permit sin.  He will restrain all sin in Hell.  He will get the victory over all sin and rebellion, for: at the Name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW and every tongue confess Jesus is Lord.   Everyone, even satan will be forced into submission  to God by external pressure (fire).   Hell will not be a party.  You either choose to submit to God now or by pain  be forced into submission.  He will have no rebellion in His universe.  God could force us to obey by giving us pain when we sin, but He doesn’t want to control us that way.   He wants us to receive His love and grace on the inside so that we voluntarily live for Him.   But  in the Lake of Fire, everyone will be at the pain level necessary to stop them sinning.  There will be different degrees of torment in Hell, the more sinful the person is, the greater the pain necessary to restrain him.  You need to be in Heaven not in Hell !

So everyone will be salted with fire.  Salt stops corruption.   The wicked will be salted like Lot’s wife, and suffer fire and brimstone like Sodom (Rev19:20, 20:10, 21:8).   Receive the grace of God into your heart so that you love God freely rather than being forced to bow the knee.  Will it be eternal life or eternal death for you? (Romans 6:23).

Are you like Lot, a carnal  believer, compromising  for a peaceful life,  losing  respect and witness, who just escapes, saved because someone is praying for you but ending up with no reward? 
Or are you like Lot’s wife, looking like a believer but when it comes down to it,  the Lord isn’t in your life? 
Or are you an unbeliever, like the people of Sodom, who forgot God, going deeper into sin, until judgment was inevitable.  Be like Abraham who put the Lord first and received a great inheritance.  He walked the earth trusting God.   God looked after him.   He had a good life, but his eyes were on Heaven and the city whose maker is God (Hebrews 11:8-12).

The concept of Hell is hard but in the end all will see that God is absolutely fair and just (Hebrews 11:6, Genesis 18:25).

The occupants of the Lake of Fire: 
1. Satan and fallen angels (Jude 6; 2Peter 2:4; Rev 20:10; Matt25:41). 
2. Antichrist and the false prophet. 
3. Judas (Acts 1:25). 
4. All the unsaved (John 3:36; Revelation 20; 21:8). 
At present the Lake exists but is empty.

'Anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.' How urgent it is that you trust in Christ as your Lord and Saviour!

John 3:16-18,36: 
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God ....He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.

THE LAST ENEMY DEFEATED 
God’s Kingdom advanced greatly during the Millennium, with the God-man, Jesus becoming King over the earth, but there was still the presence of enemies.  The final purpose of His Kingdom is to destroy these enemies in preparation for the Eternal State.  We have seen God deal with all His enemies removing them to the Lake of Fire.  The last enemy to be defeated was death, with the resurrection of all the dead.  Now the Kingdom can move into its final phase.

1Corinthians 15:22-28 describes the transition of the Kingdom into the Eternal State: 
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 
But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. 
Then comes the end (the resurrection of unbelievers), when He (Jesus) delivers the Kingdom to God the Father, when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 
The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. 
For He has put all things under His feet. 
But when He says: all things are put under Him, 
it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. 
Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.

When every enemy has been defeated by Christ, He will present the Mediatoral-Kingdom to God having fulfilled its purpose.   This Kingdom which existed in time is now merged into the Eternal Kingdom of God.   The Lord continues to rule as King forever (Revelation 22:3-5, 3:21) but the Mediatoral Kingdom no longer has a separate identity.

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