FoundationsForGrowing

The End Times: Part VII

by Joanna Pierce on June 16, 2016

This week marks the end of our series on the Book of Revelation and the End Times. Last week, we discussed the first (Antichrist) and second (false prophet) beasts, the abomination of desolation, and the battle of Armageddon. This week we will end our study on the unrepentant, 1,000 year Millennial Reign, Battle of Gog and Magog, the last judgment, and the new heaven and new earth.

The Unrepentant

Scripture refers to a place called hell (sheol in Hebrew, and hades in Greek). Prior to the coming of Jesus, when people died, they went to hell—an intermediate state where all people were held. Scripture talks about how there were divisions of hell in the story of Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16:20–31). Lazarus was in Abraham’s bosom (paradise) and the rich man was in torment, but there was a division between the two.

After Jesus died and rose from the dead, he led those souls in Abraham’s bosom (Ephesians 4:8) to the current location under the throne of God (Revelation 6:9). The righteous souls are no longer in hell but in heaven. But, the unrepentant, like the rich man, are still in torment in the lower part of the earth (Ephesians 4:9).

We learned in previous weeks the righteous will be caught up (raptured) to meet Jesus (I Thessalonians 4:16–17), which is known as the first resurrection. The unrepentant will not participate in the first resurrection (Revelation 20:5)

1,000 Year Millennial Reign of Christ

The righteous Saints, who were a part of the first resurrection, will reign with Jesus for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:6). Theologians have deemed this period of time as the “Millennial Reign of Christ.” Those who are left on the earth who survive the tribulation will enter into this period of time as well, but the Saints will be given ruling power over them.

During the 1,000 year period, the devil will be bound and will have no influence over mankind (Revelation 20:1–3). Even with the devil bound, there will still be people who will not follow after Jesus even though He will be present with us. During this time, God will be fulfilling promises made to the Patriarchs of faith (Psalms 89:4).

Battle of Gog and Magog

At the end of the 1,000 years, Satan will be loosed and he will go out and deceive nations all over the earth. He will gather them together to come against the believers at the battle of Gog and Magog (Revelation 20:7–8). Gog represents the Antichrist and Magog represents the anti-Christian. This battle includes people who don’t want to serve God, obey His will, worship Him, etc.—these people want to be like the devil.

But, when these armies of the unrighteous attempt to attack, fire will come down from heaven and destroy them (Revelation 20:9). Satan will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone (Revelation 20:10) to join the beast (Antichrist) and the false prophet, and will be tormented for day and night for all eternity.

The Last Judgment

Everyone who was not caught up (raptured) in the first resurrection will stand before God to be judged. This is known as the “Great White Throne Judgment” (Revelation 20:11). God will open the books and they will be judged according to their works (Revelation 20:12). Finally, death and hell will be cast into the lake of fire, and everyone who’s names are not written in the Lamb’s book of life will be cast into the lake of fire as well (Revelation 20:14–15). This will be eternal separation from God—the second death—where all will be tormented forever.

New Heaven and a New Earth

After the last judgment, the righteous souls will live peaceably with Christ. God will create a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21:1). Heaven is referring to the place where God will actually dwell (location of His throne). While Scripture describes 3 heavens (earth’s atmosphere [Genesis 1:8], celestial heavens [Genesis 22:1], and God’s dwelling place [Revelation 4:2]), this will be the physical heaven where we will spend eternity.

The new heaven and new earth will no longer have any sin (Revelation 21:27), but will be a wonderful place with our Savior! The streets will be made of pure gold, gates made of one pearl, and everything have the beauty of all kinds of precious stones (Revelation 21:18–21). We will not even be able to comprehend its beauty when we actually see it. There will be no need for a sun or moon because the glory of Jesus will illuminate everything—He will be our light (Revelation 21:22).

Coming Quickly

Jesus closes out Revelation by telling us that He is coming quickly. We need to work hard while we still have time to obey His Word and to ensure our own salvation. And, we also need to persuade men to follow after Christ (Revelation 22:12–16). This world is not our home; we’re just passing through. We need to prepare to make heaven our home—because that’s where we will want to spend eternity.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on June 15, 2016 with Guest Speaker, Brother Jonathan Pierce