We know that following the 7-year Tribulation, the 1,000-year reign of Christ known as the Millennial Kingdom will come. It’s going to be an amazing time for those who were Raptured into glorified bodies and will actually rule and reign with Jesus.
The world at that time and how we operate in it is the source of much speculation and anticipation, but here’s a question I’ve never heard:
Following the Tribulation, the earth as we know it is going to be an absolute mess. How does it get from that condition into the pristine world that we’ll inhabit during the Millennium?
Think about this. God has rained down His wrath to bring Israel to the point of acknowledging Jesus Christ as Messiah and to punish the anti-God unbelievers. He’s done this through the three sets of Judgments: Seal – Trumpet – Bowl. Water everywhere has turned to blood. Massive earthquakes have leveled cities and mountains. Comets and asteroids have devastated the earth. The sun has burned up the land. Dead bodies lie festering as a source of disease. Blood drenches the plains and mountains.
Welcome to the Millennial Kingdom – paradise – the utopia we’ve all dreamed about!
What’s wrong with this picture?
This just can’t be right. Something has to happen to make our entry into the Millennium a little more pleasant than what it would be otherwise.
Following the final 1,260 days of the Tribulation, i.e., the 2nd half of the Tribulation, there is another 75-day period prior to the start of Christ’s Kingdom on earth. There are several events that will occur during this time beyond the scope of this essay, but briefly, they will include such things as the cleanup of Antichrist’s temple desolation and the probable destruction/removal of the temple. There will be various judgments and resurrections, and possibly the wedding feast of the Lamb. I’ve heard different timings on the feast, but when the wedding parable in Matthew 22:1-14 is considered, it being held at this point makes sense to me.
In thinking about the mess-to-paradise paradigm, I went to the one source that I’ve found to answer many sticky questions, namely The Footsteps of the Messiah by Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0914863096/.
In the chapter titled “General Characteristics of the Messianic Kingdom,” Dr. Fruchtenbaum, in his normal thorough examination of end-times events, addresses this very issue.
He points to Isaiah 65:17-25, which says:
“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth,
and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.
But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create;
for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy,
and her people to be a gladness.
I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people;
no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping
and the cry of distress.
No more shall there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not fill out his days,
for the young man shall die a hundred years old,
and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed.
They shall build houses and inhabit them;
they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
They shall not build and another inhabit;
they shall not plant and another eat;
for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,
and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
They shall not labor in vain or bear children for calamity,
for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the Lord,
and their descendants with them.
Before they call, I will answer;
while they are yet speaking, I will hear.
The wolf and the lamb shall graze together;
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 mountain,’ says the Lord.”
Looking at this passage, you’ll no doubt immediately protest that Isaiah is speaking of the final remaking of the earth in verse 17 that we see in Revelation 21:1:
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.”
But does it? Following Dr. Fruchtenbaum’s logic, and examining the passage more deeply, we see that it speaks of those who will die after 100 years for their sins (presumably because they’ve chosen not to trust Jesus as their Savior). They will be accursed and subject to death. Is that your understanding of the final New Heavens and New Earth?
Revelation 21:8 says:
“But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
Revelation 22:3 says:
“No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.”
In this final era, it certainly appears that there will be no more sin and no more people considered accursed, because they’ll all reside in the Lake of Fire. If that’s the case, then the Scripture in Isaiah must be referring to a different time period. And, if that’s true, then apparently God will do a supernatural cleanup that is different from the fire cleansing spoken of in 2 Peter 3:10:
“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.”
I don’t know about you, but as I was thinking about this situation before I found this explanation, I figured that all of us coming into the Millennial Kingdom, glorified and mortal, would have a massive cleanup effort. Whew!
Thank God, that appears not to be part of our purposeful work when we get there.
Bottom line: God’s got this mess handled just like He has everything else under control.
Gary W. Ritter is a lay pastor, Bible teacher, and serves as Missions Director at his church. He is also a prolific author. His Whirlwind Series is comprised of three books: Sow the Wind, Reap the Whirlwind, and There Is A Time. These books are contained in the collected volume of the Whirlwind Omnibus. Gary has been given the Christian Redemptive Fiction award for two novels: The Tattooed Cat and Alien Revelation. He has recently released a new novel on eco-terrorism called Green Dreams, and Looking Up – Volume 3, a non-fiction work that contains essays and devotions on end-times and prophetic events. Gary’s intent in all his writings is to bring a strong Christian witness to what people read.
You can reach him at his website: www.GaryRitter.com or his Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/gritter3390. You can also see his video Bible teachings on his Gary Ritter YouTube channel – look for the fish symbol.