Studies in Daniel and Revelation, Final

As we saw last week, the Millennium will be the final dispensation of man. It will be his last chance to recognize his need for God and his complete lost state without God. Revelation 20 illustrates in dramatic fashion that man will fail in this dispensation as he has in every dispensation since the time of Adam and Eve. However, this time, man’s failure will not be universal in the sense that the entire human race will fail. In fact, only a portion of mankind will fail while living under the most blessed conditions ever known in the history of the world.

By the close of the Millennium, God will have “tested” or “tried” man under every condition imaginable and man will have proved himself a failure without God. God, on the other hand, will have proved Himself to be patient and longsuffering, giving man chance upon chance to willingly choose to submit to God and to live according to God’s will. But even God’s patience will come to end, and after that comes His judgment.

1. The Judgment

The Great White Throne Judgment (20:11—15) will take place at the very close of the Millennium. This judgment will be necessary;

  • Because of man’s continued failures under ever one of God’s tests;
  • Because the faithful will have realized that God’s form of government is the best and that God truly loves for and cares for then;
  • Because all accusations brought against God by Satan and all those who refuse to submit to God will have been demonstrated to be completely false;
  • Because the faithful will have yielded their wills unreservedly to God
  • Because, in the plan of God, the time will have come to stamp out all rebellion and rid the universe of all rebels.

To that end, God will loose Satan in order to “test” mankind for the last time and to unite all those with rebellion in their hearts. Many, but certainly not all, of those living on the earth during the Millennium will choose to follow Satan, and will be judged for their rebellion, along with Satan and the demons.

In this judgment, “death” and “hell” refer to the grave, which symbolically holds the body until the time of resurrection, and the lower compartment of Sheol-Hades which holds the immaterial part of sinful man. Both “death” and “hell” are cast into the lake of fire, which shows that neither death nor sin or sinners will enter into the eternal state.

The judgment of man will be swift and complete. All those who chose to follow Satan will stand before God, and all those who never confessed Christ or had their faith credited to them as righteousness will be resurrected to face their sentencing. Satan and the demons will also be standing before the throne. All unregenerate people will be judged according to their works and cast into the lake of fire. They will not be judged as to whether or not they are saved; but to determine the degree of their punishment. The truly tragic aspect of this judgment (and of man’s stubborn refusal to submit to God) is that there will be many “good” and otherwise moral and ethical and loveable people there awaiting sentencing, and the only reason they will not be permitted to enjoy the blessings of eternal bliss is not because they were so awful but because they never claimed Christ as Savior. These people will be judged according to their works, which suggests there will be degrees of punishment, although none will escape. The good will enter the lake of fire along with the murderers and rapists and extortionists of history. Imagine spending eternity alongside the likes of Cain, the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah, Judas and those who crucified Jesus, Hitler, and all those who were simply to busy to take the time to make a decision to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior. Tragic does not begin to describe the scene of this judgment.

Satan and the demons will also be cast into the lake of fire where the Beast and the false prophet will have been for the past 1,000 years.

And so all sin and rebellion will be forever banished from the universe and the faithful will into eternal blessing on an Earth to be completely restored to a perfect state not seen since the days of the Garden of Eden.

2. Salvation: eternal for all people

During the Millennium, many will submit outwardly to the rule of God, but inwardly they will, in the stubbornness of their hearts, wish to rebel against the His kingdom. These will be the people who will follow Satan when he is loosed. But what of the rest of humanity—probably the majority—alive, living, and working on the earth at the end of the Millennium? What will happen to them?

God’s promise of salvation by faith alone will still apply during the last dispensation. The faithful alive at the end of the Millennium will not be judged at the Great White Throne judgment but will be permitted to enter the eternal state of the New Earth to live on the earth for all eternity the way God originally intended Adam and Eve and their progeny to. There will be no sin on the earth and the world will be free from all corruption caused by the sin of Adam and Eve. All resurrected saints will continue to reign forever over natural generations of humans yet unborn (Dan. 2:44—45; 7:13—14, 18; Rev. 5:10; 11:15; 22:4-6). Human beings born in the eternal state will eat of the tree of life and live forever (Rev. 22:1—2). These human beings will carry out God’s original purpose for man and this planet. All life on this planet—plan, animal, human—will be restored to the exact state they were before the fall.

3. A New Earth

This planet will be never destroyed, either by flood for by fire. It will, however, be cleansed and renovated by fire, or we might say the earth will be “recreated.” This is spelled out clearly in 2 Peter 3.

Of note are the following “new” things—

  • Revelation 21:1. It appears that when the Earth-changes take place, the oceans will disappear. It has been suggested that the bodies of water now covering three-quarters of the Earth will be evaporated by the heat and fire mentioned in 2 Peter 3. The waters that fell from heaven and erupted out from the deep at the time of Earth’s period of chaos (Genesis 1:2) will return to their original resting places; in the heavens and in the bowels of the Earth. However, there will be many lakes and rivers covering all parts of the planet—
    • Seas and islands are mentioned in the eternal reign of Christ: Ps. 72:8—10, 17; 97:1—6; Isaiah 42:4, 10—12; 66:19—21; Zechariah 9:10; Ezekiel 47:1—23.
    • There will be rivers in the eternal kingdom: Ezekiel 47:1—12, 18-20; Zechariah 9:10; 14:8; Revelation 22:1—3.
    • There will be an abundance of fresh water on the Earth in order to fulfill many prophecies: Genesis 8:22; Isaiah 35; Amos 5:8; 9:6; Job 38:4—16, 22—30; Psalm 104:5—14, 24—28.

All the land currently occupied by oceans will then be freed up to be lived on and reclaimed and made habitable for generations to come.

  • Revelation 21:2—22:4. John saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem descending from Heaven. This new city is what Christ prepared for His followers, John 14:2—4. This city will be enormous in size, occupying a land mass equivalent to over half the size of the United States.

  • Revelation 21:24—27. Outside the boundaries of the New Jerusalem will be many nations. There are different views as to who the inhabitants of these will be. Some scholars see them as the lineal descendants of Noah, but a more likely scenario is that the new sinless human race will be made up of all those were faithful to God during the Millennium. That there will be human beings living on the Earth forever is clear from many Scriptures: Isaiah 66:22—24; Revelation 21:3—4, 24-26; Exodus 32:13; Psalm 25:13; 37:9—11, 22, 29, 34, 69:36; 82:8; Isaiah 60:21; Matthew 5:5; 25:34.  Thus God’s plan, began in Genesis but interrupted by the fall, will realize fulfillment:  He will have created beings in His own image, able to exercise their free will in complete righteousness, for eternal fellowship.

Finally, we read this:

“It is done.” (21:6)

What was ended?

  1. Earth’s sinful ages, 2 Peter 3:5—13
  2. The currently sin-cursed and defiled Earth and heavens.
  3. All rebellion throughout the universe.
  4. Man’s sinful and rebellious character.
(c)  2009 WitzEnd
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