FROM HERE TO ETERNITY
This will be the final part in our series on the Millennial Kingdom. In the previous part, we examined the chronology and characteristics of the coming kingdom. We learned that during this literal thousand-year reign of King Jesus that:
(1) Jesus will restore earth to its Eden-like state.
(2) that the entire topography of the earth will be changed, particularly Jerusalem.
(3) that Jesus will rule from King David’s throne in Jerusalem with King David ruling underneath Him. (4) that the kingdom will begin with EVERYONE entering being saved believers.
(5) that there will be both mortals and immortals on earth during the Kingdom Age.
(6) that mortals will marry and procreate.
(7) that everyone both mortal and immortal will have a purpose and function during the Kingdom.
(8) that government will be a complete theocracy.
(9) that Satan and all evil forces will be bound for the thousand years of the kingdom.
(10) the Kingdom Age will come to an end.
In this last part of this series, we will look to scriptures to determine what happens next, after the last thousand years of the Kingdom Age have ended.
If we look back along God’s timeline of human history, we can see that both the first dispensation (from creation to the Fall) and the last dispensation (the thousand-year Kingdom Age)—both of these first and last dispensations begin with a perfect world and no sin, yet both ended (and will end) in rebellion.
You see, by the end of the last dispensation of creation, the Kingdom Age, mankind will have been tried and tested under every conceivable condition and found wanting.
In Eden before Adam’s rebellion, he and Eve were clothed in utter righteousness. They had intimate fellowship with their Creator. They had everything. They wanted nothing. They lacked nothing. The entire earth and all its fullness were theirs. Adam had dominion and was in charge of it all. All God asked of Adam and Eve was obedience of their own free will to trust Him.
Why didn’t God just make it so that the temptation was not there? Because God wants us to love Him freely of our own will. He gave man the choice to love and serve Him and the choice to reject that love and protection. Of course, man chose wrongly. The potential for rebellion always existed because the creation can never equal the Creator.
Still even before God spoke the first “Let there be…,” within the Triune Godhead, God the Father had already ordained and God to be Son had already chosen that He would be incarnated into flesh, live a sinless life that no man could ever hope to live, voluntarily lay down His life as an atonement for the sins of the world (because of the Fall of Adam) which He, Jesus, knew would happen, and make through grace, eternal salvation possible for “whosoever will” believe upon Him alone. God the Son also knew that His triumphant resurrection conquering Satan, Sin, Hell, Death, and the Grave would forever seal and secure eternal life for ALL who would choose to believe upon Him, and place their trust in Him alone.
All this was known and planned among the Triune Godhead BEFORE anything was ever created (1 Peter 1:19-20; Revelation 13:8). So you see, Adam’s rebellion was no surprise to God. He already knew man would fall before creation began.
The very first dispensation began in perfection but ended in man’s failure just as the very last dispensation will also.
At the beginning of the Kingdom Age, ALL MORTAL SURVIVORS, both Jew and Gentile who are allowed entrance into the kingdom, will be saved believers. It will be they, these believing mortal survivors, both Jews and Gentiles, who will marry, have children, and repopulate the earth.
The other groups who will have a part in the kingdom are the immortals:
(1) the resurrected/raptured and glorified Church Age saints.
(2) the Tribulation saints, those who became believers and died during the Tribulation. This group will get their resurrection bodies at the same time the Old Testament saints receive theirs.
(3) Finally, all Old Testament saints will be given their resurrection bodies at the end of the Tribulation just before entrance to the kingdom as well (Daniel 12:13; Revelation 6:9-11). So we see that the kingdom will be made up of both mortals and immortals.
Longevity during the Kingdom Age will be greatly enhanced with the righteous followers of Christ possibly living to the very end of the thousand-year reign.
What we want to examine now in this last part of our series are these things:
(1) What happens at the end of the thousand-year kingdom?
(2) What about the lost who are in Hell?
(3) What is the final judgment and who is it for?
(4) Where do we all go after the Kingdom Age ends?
So let’s take these one by one and see what happens at the end of the Kingdom.
First, let’s review what Jesus does right at the end of the Tribulation. He does two very important things. These things give mankind an opportunity that even Adam and Eve didn’t get. The purpose of each dispensation, including this last one, is to demonstrate to all creation and for all time, that even given a perfect environment, perfect bodies, perfect peace presided over by God Himself, that the unregenerate heart of man is utterly wicked and will always “fall short of the glory of God.”
It will prove to ALL CREATION that the creation cannot be equal to or surpass its Creator. It will prove once and for all to ALL CREATION, that though created “a little lower than the angels,” that one third of the angelic realm and Adam who fathered all humankind chose to rebel. For the angels who chose to follow Satan in rebellion, their choice was final and irrevocable. Among the angelic realm, those who chose to rebel sealed their eternal fate with no hope of redemption. But for man, who was “made a little lower than the angels” (Hebrews 2:7), “God SO LOVED the world that He gave His only begotten [only one of His kind] Son that WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM shall NOT perish [eternally], but have EVERLASTING LIFE” (John 3:16).
See, God will show, once and for all, that the fallen human heart, even when placed in the perfect environment given perfect health, ruled by a perfect government, living in perfect peace – even in that perfection – MANY will still reject Jesus’ offer of salvation, and choose to follow their own fallen hearts.
You see, unlike Adam and Eve in Eden, the children born to believers during the Kingdom will not have Satan, the fallen angels, nor the demonic hordes to contend with. ALL those evil entities including Satan himself, will be bound, most in the abyss, during the entire thousand years. None of these evil “powers and principalities” will be around to tempt, delude, or entice anyone. So what goes wrong? Why, at the end of the millennium when Satan and his minions are loosed for the last time, why is he able to gather so MANY in one last futile global rebellion to try to overthrow Jesus’ kingdom on earth? (Revelation 20:7-9).
The answer lies in the wicked hearts of ALL fallen and unredeemed humanity since Adam chose to rebel and thus put all humanity under the curse of sin. It is our own wicked hearts that need redemption. Our hearts are “desperately wicked.” Our own fallen nature condemns us. Unregenerate man needs a Redeemer (Jeremiah 17:9).
Of course, the final rebellion, which Satan instigates and then tries to implement, is quashed immediately by the King of Kings. It is the aftermath of this final rebellion that comes at the very end of the Kingdom Age when Satan and his evil horde are loosed one final time before they suffer their eternal fate that we will examine.
What happens at the end of the millennium? Let’s go to scripture to find out (Revelation chapters 20 – 22).
Satan’s final and utterly failed attempt to lead the unbelieving reprobates of the Millennial Kingdom in a coup to overthrow and unseat Jesus, the King of Kings, is immediately put down by the King of Kings Himself.
The pride, hubris, and insanity of Satan is no more fully on display than in this recounting of his final rebellion and ultimate doom (Revelation 20:7-9).
After this failed attempt is immediately and completely quashed by Jesus, the thousand-year reign will have been completed. This will conclude God’s timeline of history that began with creation. It will end with these final events:
(1) Satan’s release from the abyss
(2) Christ’s putting down of the final rebellion attempted by Satan and his evil hordes
(3) the old universe being destroyed
(4) The final judgment of Satan, the fallen angels, the demonic horde, and all the lost who have been held in Hell from the time of Adam to the last person, will face a final judgment before the Great White Throne.
(5) the New Heavens and the New Earth
(6) the descension of the New Jerusalem
(7) Time as a created construct ending
(8) the eternal state
At the end of the thousand-year kingdom, Satan will be loosed from the abyss. As we said before, he will gather from every nation on earth, an enormous following of those who, although outwardly obedient to the Lord, but who nevertheless were inwardly rebellious unbelievers. Satan will amass this vast global army and surround Jerusalem, ready to overthrow the Kingdom of God in earth. Jesus will immediately defeat them, then the King of Kings will deal with Satan and his minions for the final time. Let’s look at that.
“And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Revelation 20:10). [All Scripture KJV).
Next comes the judgment of the Great White Throne.
“And I saw a great white throne, and him that 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, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire”(Revelation 20:11-15).
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Peter 3:10-13).
As we see in these passages, this current heavens and earth will be destroyed.
Now, although scripture does not tell us explicitly, it is inferred, and we can quite reasonably assume that all those still in mortal bodies, who remained faithful believers throughout the Kingdom Age, will receive their immortal bodies before or at the time when this old heaven and earth will be “burned up,” so that ALL BELIEVERS from ALL THE AGES will be in glorified, immortal bodies fit to dwell in the eternal state in the New Heavens and New Earth.
Next comes the great final judgment of the LOST of all ages who have been housed in Sheol (Hell) which has been the repository of the souls of the lost, unbelieving dead from the time of Adam up to the last unbelieving soul to die at the end of the millennium.
ALL of these will appear before Jesus who will be seated as Judge upon the Great White Throne. Jesus will open “the books” which contain all their works and efforts. Then He will open the great Lamb’s Book of Life that contains the names of EVERY HUMAN BEING who believed on the Son of God ALONE – APART from any human efforts. ONLY those names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life are the ones eternally saved.
NONE of those lost who will appear before the Great White Throne will have had their names engraved in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
They will be judged by their own merits because they “believed not” upon the only begotten Sin of God who ALONE can save man’s immortal soul.
All of their works will be shown to “fall short” of the glory of God, and because they, by their own rejection of THE gospel of salvation by faith alone, through grace alone, in Christ alone, NONE of these souls will be clothed in the righteousness of Christ which is imputed to ALL who are saved upon their belief in Jesus alone as their Savior (Romans 4:22).
Since NONE OF THEM will be covered in the righteousness of Christ which they rejected, they will be judged by their own righteousness, which no matter how good in their own eyes is still equivalent to “filthy rags” against the perfect righteousness of God. ALL who appear before the Great White Throne will be cast into the eternal Lake of Fire, the FINAL place of eternal punishment and torment. ALL OF THEM. There they, along with Satan, his fallen angels, the demonic horde, the Antichrist and the False Prophet, will suffer unending, eternal, unrelieved, torment forever. They will NOT be burned up, nor will they be annihilated as some false teachers teach.
Just as our joy and peace in the presence of God will be eternal, so will the torment, pain, and punishment be of those who willingly rejected God’s great salvation that He made possible for ALL who would believe.
God NEVER wanted mankind to end up there in that place of eternal torment and damnation. His righteous love made escape possible for “whosoever will” believe upon Jesus, but His righteous JUSTICE demands that all who refuse salvation according to the scriptures will suffer the eternal penalty for “the wages of sin.”
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
“Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:11).
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:16-19).
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).
See, God did all He could do, which necessitated sending His own Son to pay the penalty of sin so that NO ONE HAS to die that eternal death, and be tormented, eternally separated from God. It is each person’s individual choice that determines our eternal destiny. ALL who will one day stand before that Great White Throne will be there because, during their life, they will have chosen to REJECT God’s great salvation before they drew their last breath here in this mortal body.
Once the final judgment is pronounced, and the lost of all the ages are consigned to the Lake of Fire for all eternity, then God creates a New Heavens and a New earth.
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 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.
“And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Revelation 21:1-8).
“For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind” (Isaiah 65:17).
It is at the time of the end of this old, fallen, Satan-usurped world system that Time itself, as a created construct, will end and merge into the eternal state – glorious and with the Lord for ALL BELIEVERS – in the eternal Lake of Fire for all who rejected Christ.
“And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.
“And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.
“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:1-7, 12-13, 16-17, 20).
All of this is coming! From the instant of the rapture, we are all only seven years away from eternity with the Father for we who believe. But for the lost and those who continue to reject Christ’s salvation – for ALL who, during the Tribulation, choose to take the “mark of the beast,” whatever form it takes – for them, then once the rapture occurs, they only have seven years, or less if they die before the end of that dreadful seven years, before they end up in the eternal Lake of Fire. Hear the words of the Lord.
“And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:43-44).
Time is quickly running out for this sin-wrecked world. For the Remnant Church, our heart’s longing cry is two-fold: First, we plead for all who are lost to come to salvation NOW. Still, our greatest desire is this: