Written by January 2019
3 ½ years after setting up the Mark of the Beast system, the final war of Armageddon will take place:
‘Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared. … And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.’ Revelation 16.
The passage indicates that the beast and the false prophet under the control of Satan gather these armies together. Their motive is not so much to fight against Israel, but against the returning Lord. This is a futile endeavour because the Lord Himself will return with all power and destroy these armies:
‘Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. … And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.’ Revelation 19.11-16.
He will throw the beast and the false prophet straight into hell and bind Satan and cast him into the abyss where he will be unable to carry on his work of deception:
‘And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.’ Revelation 19.17-21.
‘He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.’ Revelation 20.1-6.
With the opposition to the Lord crushed, the ‘kingdoms of this world will become the kingdom of our God and He shall reign for ever and ever.’ Revelation 11.15. In that kingdom there will be peace and justice as the earth is filled with the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. Isaiah 2.1-4, 11.9. Satan will be bound and unable to deceive the nations during the 1000 year period when Jesus is reigning on earth.
Those who were taken in the rapture of the church (including all who were saved during the time between the first coming of Jesus and the rapture) will return with the Lord in glorified bodies (1 Corinthians 15.50-56, Zechariah 14.5, Jude 14-15, Revelation 19.14).
Those who died during the tribulation period as believers in Jesus
will be resurrected and have a part in the Messianic kingdom: ‘Then I sawthe souls
of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of
God, who had not worshiped the
beast or his image, and had not
received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.’
(Revelation 20.4). Old Testament saints
will also be resurrected: ‘And many of those who sleep in the dust of
the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life,
some to shame and everlasting contempt. … Go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days.’ (Daniel 12.2,13).
Saved survivors of the tribulation will go into the Messianic kingdom in their natural bodies to repopulate the earth. Unbelievers will be cast out (Matthew 25.31-46). Jewish believers will enter into the redeemed Israel in the Messianic kingdom, while unbelievers will not be admitted (Ezekiel 20.33-42). This will be the moment at which ‘all Israel will be saved’ according to Romans 11.25-27, when the “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.” (Isaiah 59.20).
The Lord will be present on earth during this 1000 year period, ruling from the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem (Ezekiel 40-48). Ezekiel describes the glory of the Lord entering the Millennial temple (Ezekiel 43.1-7, 44.1-2) and concludes his description of this temple by the words ‘the name of the city from that day shall be: THE LORD IS THERE.’ Ezekiel 48.35.
At this time He will fulfil the prophecy of Isaiah 2.1-4 when the word of the Lord will go out from Jerusalem and ‘He will teach us His ways and we will walk in His paths’. One result of this will be that all military training and manufacture of weapons will be abolished and there will be no more war. His rule will be perfectly just as we read in Psalm 72.2-4: ‘He will judge Your people with righteousness, and Your poor with justice. … He will bring justice to the poor of the people; He will save the children of the needy, and will break in pieces the oppressor.’ As a result the earth will be ‘full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea’. Isaiah 11.9.
There will be changes in the climate, geography and even animal behaviour (Isaiah 11.6-9) during this time. Rivers will flow in the deserts and once desolate places will now be teeming with life: ‘The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose … For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert.’ Isaiah 35.1-6. Ezekiel 47.1-12 describes a river flowing out of the restored Temple in Jerusalem flowing down to the Dead Sea, where now there are no fish. This river will bring life wherever it goes, so that there will even be fishermen at Ein Gedi, on the shores of the Dead Sea. Along the bank of the river will be trees used for food and for medicine.
The possibility of sin will be greatly restrained, because the Lord will reign with ‘a rod of iron’, in other words He will prevent people behaving in the destructive ways of sin as they do today. No drug or alcohol addiction, pornography, gambling, occult or violence will be permitted. False religions will be banned and there will be only worship of the one true Creator God revealed in the Messiah. As Satan will be bound in the bottomless pit he will be unable to sow his evil influence on people.
Nevertheless there will be people who will be unhappy with the reign of the Messiah and inwardly rebelling against Him. Those who go into the Millennial kingdom in mortal bodies will continue to reproduce and have children. Speaking of this time Ezekiel 47.22 speaks of those ‘who dwell among you and bear children among you.’ Zechariah 8.5 says ‘the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets.’ Isaiah 11.6-9 speaks of a little child leading the animals which are now no longer wild or dangerous.
These passages cannot be interpreted as an Old Testament vision of heaven. Jesus tells us there will be no more marriage in heaven and therefore no more reproduction of children (contrary to the false belief of the Mormons!): ‘For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven.’ Matthew 22.30. Another reason why these passages about the Messianic kingdom cannot be about heaven is that those who are born during this time have the capacity to sin. In Isaiah 65 we read about this period:
behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing, and her people a joy. I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My people; the voice of weeping shall no
longer be heard in her, nor the voice of crying. ‘No more shall an infant
from there live but a few days,
Nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days; for the child shall die one hundred years old, but the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed.’
This means that during the Messianic kingdom the life span will be greatly increased but there will be the possibility of sin being committed. Those who do sin will have their life span decreased. Again this is in contrast with the New Jerusalem (heaven) where there will be no death and no sin will be allowed to enter in. Speaking of the New Jerusalem in heaven, John writes: ‘But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.’ Revelation 21.27.
Because sin remains a possibility during this time Ezekiel describes the offering of sacrifices for sin in the Millennial Temple (Ezekiel 40.38-43, 44.18-27). The nature of these sacrifices is a subject of some controversy and I will not get into that at the moment, but the fact that the passage speaks of a ‘sin offering’ indicates that sin remains a possibility in this time.
The capacity to sin will be greatly restrained during this time, by the godly rule of the Messiah Jesus present on earth and the absence of Satan as the deceiver and tempter. However according to Revelation 20 at the end of the 1000 years Satan will be released from his prison and go out to gather to himself those who are inwardly hostile to the Lord and giving way to their sinful nature. They will join Satan in his final doomed rebellion, which will be put down by the Lord and cause the end of the world:
‘Now when the thousand 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.’ Revelation 20.7-10
Following this the wicked from all ages will appear before the Great White Throne of God and be cast into hell. (Revelation 20.11-15). God will then create a new heavens and new earth in which righteousness will dwell for ever:
‘Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. … And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” … But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Revelation 21.1-8.
Avoid hell and choose heaven by making sure you have a glorious future in the kingdom of our God now by accepting Jesus the Messiah as your Saviour and Lord.