Layhands.com

fish  
Christian Evangelism, Healing, and Teaching Resources

  



 
Beyond the Second Coming


Introduction

In my eight-part series called The Rapture of the Church I gave some Scriptural definitions for the following terms: the Rapture, the Second Coming, the Antichrist, the Tribulation, the Great Tribulation, the Millennium, and the Church. That series also described many Scriptural reasons why the Rapture will happen before the seven-year Tribulation period begins.

In my article called The Second Coming I showed that just before the Second Coming of Christ, the Antichrist will gather the armies of the world to the Valley of Jezreel at the mountain of Megiddo (which in Hebrew is called "Armageddon"). He will attack Jerusalem, then he will turn his armies southward and head for a mountain fortress called Bozrah (in modern-day Jordan, possibly the present city of Petra) where the majority of the surviving Jews had fled. The Jews will begin to repent as a nation for rejecting Jesus as the Messiah, and they will plead for Him to return and save them. Israel will become regenerated (saved) as a nation, and then Jesus will come down out of heaven to rescue them and to make war against the Antichrist and his armies. The Antichrist and his armies at Bozrah will be slaughtered, and then Jesus will lead the Jews back to Jerusalem, slaughtering the remaining armies of the nations along the way. Then Jesus will ascend to the top of the Mount of Olives, and there will be a huge earthquake which will split the Mount of Olives in two, and then the Messiah will once again enter Jerusalem. Hallelujah!

This article describes some things that the Bible says will happen after the Second Coming.


The Millennial Kingdom

After the Second Coming, Jesus will physically reign on the earth in a kingdom that will last for one thousand years, which is often referred to as "the Millennium" (see my article called The Rapture of the Church - Part One). For example, the Bible describes some specific things which will take place before the Millennium begins, and it describes some specific things which will take place during the Millennium, and it describes some specific things which will take place after the Millennium ends. We will see many of these things in this article. Therefore, the weight of evidence leads to the conclusion that the "one thousand years" in the book of Revelation (Revelation 20:2-7) is a specific, literal period of time in the future during which Christ will physically reign on the earth, as we saw in The Rapture of the Church - Part One.


Events Which Will Take Place Before the Millennium Begins

It appears that during the first two and a half months after Jesus returns to the earth at the Second Coming, a number of things will happen before the "thousand years" actually begins (although not necessarily in this order):

  1. The Antichrist and the False Prophet

    The Antichrist ("the lawless one") will be one of the first people to be killed at the Second Coming:
    "And then shall be revealed the lawless one [the Antichrist - see my article called The Rapture of the Church - Part One], whom the Lord Jesus shall slay with the breath of his mouth, and bring to nought by the manifestation of his coming" (2 Thessalonians 2:8, ASV)
    However, it appears that shortly after the Second Coming, the Antichrist (the "beast") and the False Prophet will be resurrected and will be cast alive into the Lake of Fire:
    "Then I saw the beast [the Antichrist - see my article called The Rapture of the Church - Part One] and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur." (Revelation 19:19-20)
    Just as Christ was the "firstfruits" of the righteous who will be raised from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:20-23), it appears that the Antichrist will be the "firstfruits" of the unrighteous who will be raised from the dead (because he will be killed at the Second Coming in 2 Thessalonians 2:8, above, and then he will be thrown alive into the Lake of Fire in Revelation 19:19-20, above), along with the False Prophet. As we will see, the rest of the unrighteous will be raised from the dead after the Millennium is over.

  2. The devil will be bound and locked in the Abyss

    Before the Millennium begins, the devil will be bound and locked in the "Abyss" for the duration of the Millennium:
    "And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time." (Revelation 20:1-3)
    Notice that this passage treats the "thousand years" as a literal period of time. The devil will be locked in the Abyss before the Millennium begins, and he will remain there for one thousand years, and then he will be released when the thousand years are ended. This period of time is referred to as "the thousand years," and it has a definite beginning point and a definite ending point. This "thousand years" will be a literal period of time after Jesus returns to the earth.

  3. The judgment of the Gentiles

    At some point after the seven-year Tribulation (which will end at the Second Coming), all of the surviving Gentiles will be gathered to the Valley of Jehoshaphat (the northern part of the Kidron Valley, just outside the eastern wall of Jerusalem):
    "The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls. In those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will enter into judgment against them concerning my inheritance, my people Israel, for they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land. They cast lots for my people and traded boys for prostitutes; they sold girls for wine that they might drink. ... Come quickly, all you nations from every side, and assemble there. Bring down your warriors, O LORD! Let the nations be roused; let them advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, for there I will sit to judge all the nations on every side." (Joel 2:31-3:3, 11-12)
    The above passage says that on the day of the Lord, when He returns and restores the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, all of the nations will be gathered into the Valley of Jehoshaphat (to the Jews, a reference to "the nations" specifically means "the Gentile nations"). These are the Gentiles who were not in the armies of the Antichrist, because the armies of the Antichrist were all slaughtered at the Second Coming (see my article called The Second Coming). Jesus will now sit to judge the Gentiles on the basis of how they treated the Jewish people ("my people Israel," above) during the seven-year Tribulation.

    Jesus said that when He returns in His glory, all of the Gentiles ("the nations") who survived the seven-year Tribulation will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them into two groups:
    "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left." (Matthew 25:31-33)
    Those on His right (the "sheep") will be the saved Gentiles who treated the Jews in a compassionate Christian way during the seven-year Tribulation:
    "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'" (Matthew 25:34-40)
    Those on His left (the "goats") will be the unsaved Gentiles who did not provide assistance to the Jews during the seven-year Tribulation:
    "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.' They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." (Matthew 25:41-46)
    The purpose of the "Sheep and Goats Judgment" will be to separate the Gentile survivors of the seven-year Tribulation into two groups: Those who will live in the Millennial Kingdom and those who will be cast into eternal punishment. Notice that this judgment will only affect Gentiles, it will not affect Jews. This is because the Jewish survivors of the seven-year Tribulation were regenerated (saved) as a nation just before the Second Coming (see my article called The Second Coming), and therefore all surviving Jews will be allowed into the Millennial Kingdom. In fact, the very basis for determining which Gentiles will be allowed into the Millennial Kingdom is how they treated the Jewish people during the seven-year Tribulation (Joel 2:31-3:3, 11-12, above, and Matthew 25:31-46, above).

    The saved and unsaved Gentiles will be judged on the basis of their deeds, but this does not imply that salvation is based on works. Only the Christian Gentiles will help the Jewish people during the Tribulation, and they will be demonstrating their faith by their deeds (see James 2:14-26, for example). The saved Gentiles will remain alive and will be blessed by being allowed to enter into the Millennial Kingdom (as we'll see in a moment). The unsaved Gentiles will be killed, and eventually they will be cast into the Lake of Fire to be punished eternally.

  4. The final regathering of the Jews

    In the Old Testament, God had said that His "elect" from Jacob and Judah will be gathered back to the land of Israel in the context of the Millennial Kingdom (Christ's thousand-year reign on earth):
    "I will bring forth descendants from Jacob, and from Judah those who will possess my mountains; my chosen people [literally, "my elect"] will inherit them, and there will my servants live. Sharon will become a pasture for flocks, and the Valley of Achor a resting place for herds, for my people who seek me. ... Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands. They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants with them. Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent's food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain," says the LORD." (Isaiah 65:9-10, 17-25)

    "The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious. In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea. He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth." (Isaiah 11:8-12)

    "Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' and to the south, 'Do not hold them back.' Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth--everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made."" (Isaiah 43:5-7)

    "In that day the LORD will thresh from the flowing Euphrates to the Wadi of Egypt, and you, O Israelites, will be gathered up one by one. And in that day a great trumpet will sound. Those who were perishing in Assyria and those who were exiled in Egypt will come and worship the LORD on the holy mountain in Jerusalem." (Isaiah 27:12-13)
    So the Jews knew that there will be a final regathering of the remnant of Israel in the end-times, which is the background for Jesus' statement that the "elect" will be regathered after the Second Coming:
    "Immediately after the distress of those days 'the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.' At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other." (Matthew 24:29-31)
    In my article called The Rapture of the Church - Part Four I showed why Matthew 24:29-31 (above) is a reference to the final regathering of the Jews from around the world back to Israel after the Second Coming. It is not a reference to the Rapture of the Church (as many people assume).

  5. The resurrection of the Old Testament saints and the Tribulation martyrs

    By the time the Millennium begins there will have been four groups of saints throughout history (the word "saint" in the Bible basically means "a righteous person"):

    1. The Old Testament saints (all of the righteous people who died before the Church Age began at Pentecost).
    2. The Church Age Christians (everyone who had saving faith in Jesus between Pentecost and the pre-trib Rapture).
    3. The Tribulation martyrs (everyone who died with saving faith in Jesus during the seven-year Tribulation).
    4. The Tribulation survivors (everyone who survived the seven-year Tribulation as well as the Sheep and Goats Judgment).
    The Tribulation survivors will still be alive when the Millennium begins, and therefore they will not need to be resurrected. Concerning the Church Age Christians, Jesus had "snatched" all of the living and dead Church Age Christians off of the earth and had taken them back into heaven with Him before the seven-year Tribulation began. The Church Age Christians will be in heaven in their resurrected, glorified, immortal bodies during the seven-year Tribulation period (see my eight-part series called The Rapture of the Church).

    So at the time of the Second Coming, the dead Old Testament saints and the dead Tribulation saints have not yet been resurrected. They will be resurrected after the Second Coming and shortly before the Millennium begins. For example, the prophet Daniel was told that after the Tribulation, all of his people who are found to be righteous will be resurrected to everlasting life:
    "At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people--everyone whose name is found written in the book--will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt." (Daniel 12:1-2)
    All of the Old Testament saints will be resurrected to everlasting life just after the seven-year Tribulation period, as Daniel 12:1-2 indicates (above). All of the unrighteous people throughout history will be resurrected to shame and everlasting contempt (Daniel 12:2, above), but we will see in the next passage that this will happen after Christ reigns for 1,000 years on earth. Daniel 12:1-2 (above) describes two different resurrections (one for the righteous and one for the unrighteous), but these two resurrections will not happen at the same time.

    All of the righteous people who died during the seven-year Tribulation will be resurrected shortly after the Second Coming:
    "I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years." (Revelation 20:4-6)
    In my article called The Rapture of the Church - Part Seven I showed that the Church will be Raptured before the seven-year Tribulation begins, and those Christians will then go through the judgment seat of Christ. The results of this judgment will determine their individual positions of authority in the Millennial Kingdom (because they will "judge the world" - see 1 Corinthians 6:1-3), so the Church Age Christians are "those who had been given authority to judge" in Revelation 20:4 (above). The second group of people in the above passage are the dead people who had received salvation during the Tribulation. At this point the Second Coming has already happened (it happened back in Revelation 19:11-21), so Revelation 20:4-6 (above) tells us that the Tribulation martyrs will be resurrected after the Second Coming. Notice in the above passage that the Church Age Christians and the Tribulation martyrs will co-reign with Christ on earth for 1,000 years. We will not be in heaven during that time, we will be back on earth in our glorified, immortal bodies. As the earth is being re-populated during the thousand-year reign of Christ, we will rule over those who survived the seven-year Tribulation (and their descendants). The third group of people in the above passage are "the rest of the dead [who] did not come to life until the thousand years were ended." This refers to all of the unrighteous people throughout history, and they will be resurrected after the thousand years are over.

    After describing the resurrection of the Tribulation martyrs, Revelation 20:4-6 (above) calls that "the first resurrection." But is that really the very first resurrection which will ever happen? No, because Jesus was the first resurrection:
    "But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him." (1 Corinthians 15:20-23)
    The above passage says that Christ was the "firstfruits" of those who will be resurrected from the dead, and it says that everyone else will be resurrected "each in his own turn." After Christ, the next resurrection will happen at the pre-trib Rapture (see my eight-part series called The Rapture of the Church), when those who died in Christ will come back to life (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17). After that will come the resurrection of the "Two Witnesses," which will take place several years after the pre-trib Rapture (Revelation 11:3-12). Finally, there will be the resurrection of the Old Testament saints (Daniel 12:1-2) and the resurrection of the Tribulation martyrs (Revelation 20:4-6), which will happen shortly after the Second Coming (as we saw above). These resurrections will take place "each in his own turn," just as the passage above says. In addition, notice that Revelation 20:4-6 (above) only describes the resurrection of those who were martyred during the seven-year Tribulation, and therefore it is not a resurrection of all righteous people. So Revelation 20:4-6 (above) does not specifically describe the very first resurrection, but instead it describes the completion of the first resurrection. The "first" resurrection is the resurrection of the righteous to eternal life (which will take place in stages, "each in his own turn," because there will be more than just one "resurrection of the righteous"), and the "second" resurrection is the resurrection of the unrighteous to eternal punishment (which will also take place in stages, because we saw that the Antichrist and the False Prophet will be resurrected and cast into the Lake of Fire 1,000 years before the rest of the unrighteous will be resurrected and cast into the Lake of Fire).

    So shortly after the Second Coming, the Old Testament saints and the Tribulation martyrs will be resurrected. At that point, all of the righteous people throughout history will have received their glorified, immortal bodies and will be alive again on earth.

  6. The "abomination that causes desolation"

    When the Antichrist starts rising to power, he will sign a seven-year treaty with Israel (which is the event that begins the seven-year Tribulation). However, at the mid-point of that seven-year period he will break the treaty and desecrate the Jewish temple (see my article called The Rapture of the Church - Part Two):
    "He [the Antichrist] will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven.' In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him."" (Daniel 9:27)
    After breaking this treaty, the Antichrist will rule the world for the final three and a half years of the Tribulation until he is killed at the Second Coming (see my article called The Rapture of the Church - Part Two). As the above passage says, the Antichrist will desecrate the Jewish temple by setting up an "abomination" in the temple (probably an image or an idol of himself as a god). This "abomination" will be set up at the mid-point of the seven-year Tribulation (Daniel 9:27, above), and it will remain in the Jewish temple during the entire global domination of the Antichrist, which will last for 1,260 days:
    "He [the Antichrist] will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time." (Daniel 7:25)
    [this means "a year, two years, and half a year" according to the NIV footnote, which will be the final three and a half years of the Tribulation.]

    "I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, "Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count the worshipers there. But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles [the Antichrist and his armies]. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months [the final three and a half years of the Tribulation]."" (Revelation 11:1-2)

    "She [the nation of Israel - see my article called The Rapture of the Church - Part One] gave birth to a son, a male child [Jesus], who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God [to Bozrah - see my article called The Second Coming], where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days [the final three and a half years of the Tribulation]." (Revelation 12:5-6)

    "The woman [the nation of Israel - see my article called The Rapture of the Church - Part One] was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert [to Bozrah - see my article called The Second Coming], where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent's reach." (Revelation 12:14)
    [this means "a year, two years, and half a year" according to the NIV footnote, which will be the final three and a half years of the Tribulation.]

    "The beast [the Antichrist] was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months [the final three and a half years of the Tribulation]." (Revelation 13:5)
    All of the above passages are thoroughly examined in my eight-part series called The Rapture of the Church, and they tell us that the Antichrist will rule the world for 1,260 days, which will be the last half of the seven-year Tribulation. At the end of those 1,260 days, Jesus will return and will kill the Antichrist and his armies (as we have seen). However, it appears that the "abomination that causes desolation" will remain in the temple for another 30 days after the Second Coming:
    "From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished [when the Antichrist seizes control of the world] and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days." (Daniel 12:11)
    Comparing the prophetic passages above, we can see that this "abomination" will be set up in the Jewish temple 1,260 days before the Second Coming. But Daniel 12:11 (above) seems to imply that the temple will be desecrated for 1,290 days because the only things which are mentioned in the context of the 1,290 days are the abolishing of the daily sacrifice in the temple and the "abomination" which desecrates the temple. Therefore, it appears that this "abomination" will be removed from the temple 30 days after the Second Coming.

  7. The restoration of all things

    As Part Seven of my series on the Rapture describes, Jesus will remain in heaven until the time comes to "restore" everything:
    Acts 3:21: "He [Jesus] must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets."
    What does the Bible mean when it says that all things will be "restored"?

    First, recall that after Adam and Eve sinned, God cursed the ground and all of creation:
    Genesis 3:17: "To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,' Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life."
    Genesis 3:18: "It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field."

    Romans 8:18: "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us."
    Romans 8:19: "The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed."
    Romans 8:20: "For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope"
    Romans 8:21: "that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God."
    Romans 8:22: "We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time."
    Romans 8:23: "Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies."
    The above passages describe the curse which God placed on all of creation as a result of Adam and Eve's disobedience (which we sometimes refer to as "the Fall"). Romans 8:21 (above) says that this curse will some day be removed, which will happen when the time comes to restore everything (Acts 3:21, above).

    Here are some things that Bible commentaries say about "the restoration of all things":
    "restitution of all things--comprehending, probably, the rectification of all the disorders of the fall." (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary Offsite Link, verse 21, emphasis added)

    "as the grace of the Gospel was intended to destroy the reign of sin, its energetic influence is represented as restoring all things, destroying the bad state, and establishing the good - taking the kingdom out of the hands of sin and Satan, and putting it into those of righteousness and truth." (Clarke, from http://www.e-sword.net/commentaries.html Offsite Link, Acts 3:21, emphasis added)
    So "the restoration of all things" in Acts 3:21 (above) includes the removal of the curse which God had placed on all of creation as a result of the Fall.

    Here's an interesting effect of this "restoration." As the following passages show, all humans and animals were plant-eaters until after the Flood:
    "[before the Fall] So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. ... Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground-- everything that has the breath of life in it--I give every green plant for food." And it was so." (Genesis 1:27-30)

    "[after the Flood in Noah's time] Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you will fall upon all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon every creature that moves along the ground, and upon all the fish of the sea; they are given into your hands. Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything."" (Genesis 9:1-3)
    So before the Fall, all wild animals on earth were vegetarian. Now notice that wild animals will one day be restored to that harmless, vegetarian, pre-Fall state:
    "The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea." (Isaiah 11:6-9)

    ""The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent's food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain," says the LORD." (Isaiah 65:25)
    As we have seen, God cursed all of creation after the Fall, but some day He will remove that curse and He will restore nature to its pre-Fall condition.

We have now seen a number of things which will happen during the period between the Second Coming and the beginning of the thousand-year reign of Christ on earth. In fact, notice that Daniel 12:11-12 says "Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.":
"From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished [when the Antichrist seizes control of the world] and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days." (Daniel 12:11-12)
We saw that the Antichrist will set up this "abomination" at the mid-point of the Tribulation, which will be 1,260 days before he is killed at the Second Coming. The above passage says that those who reach the 1,335th day (75 days after the Second Coming) will be blessed. They have survived the seven-year Tribulation, and they have survived the Sheep and Goats Judgment, and they will now enter into the Millennial Kingdom (Christ's thousand-year reign of righteousness, peace, and prosperity on earth). Remember, all of the Jews who survived the Tribulation were saved through faith in Christ just before the Second Coming, but in the judgment of the "sheep" and the "goats" all of the unrighteous Gentiles were killed. This means that not everyone who survived the seven-year Tribulation will still be alive 75 days after the Second Coming, and it also means that everyone who enters into the Millennium to repopulate the earth will be saved through faith in Jesus. They will have survived the most terrible period in the history of the world (see Matthew 24:21), and they will be blessed by being allowed to live in the thousand-year Kingdom of righteousness, peace, and prosperity.

Based on the above evidence, it appears that the Millennium will begin 75 days after the Second Coming.


Life in the Millennium

In my article called The Rapture of the Church - Part One I showed that the Millennium will be a literal period of one thousand years, during which Jesus will physically reign on the earth. What many Christians don't realize is that we will co-reign with Him during the Millennium! Notice what the Bible says:
"Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.'" (Daniel 7:27)

"If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!" (1 Corinthians 6:1-3)

"Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us" (2 Timothy 2:11-12)

"To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations -- 'He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery' -- just as I have received authority from my Father." (Revelation 2:26-27)

"with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth." (Revelation 5:9-10)

"I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years." (Revelation 20:4)

"Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years." (Revelation 20:6)
So we Christians will co-reign on earth with Jesus for 1,000 years, along with the Old Testament saints and the Tribulation martyrs. Our individual positions of authority in the Millennial Kingdom will be determined by our earthly works of faith and obedience (see my article called The Rapture of the Church - Part Seven). Don't jeopardize your future by living a self-centered life here on earth! Start living for Jesus, seeking His will and obeying Him in all things.

The Bible gives us a great deal of information about life in the Millennium, but in the interests of space I will simply try to provide an overview of things to come:


The Immortals

What will life in the Millennium be like for us? Well, if you are a Church Age Christian then you will be made immortal at the Rapture before the seven-year Tribulation begins (it doesn't matter if you are alive or dead at the Rapture):
"Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed --in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality." (1 Corinthians 15:51-53)

"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body." (Philippians 3:20-21)

"Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." (1 John 3:2)
So if you are a Christian then you will receive your glorified, immortal body at the Rapture when you are taken up into heaven (before the seven-year Tribulation begins). You will then return to the earth with Jesus at the Second Coming (see my article called The Second Coming), and you will co-reign with Him during the Millennium. If you receive salvation during the Tribulation but you don't survive until the Second Coming, then you will be made immortal with the rest of the Tribulation martyrs shortly before the Millennium begins (as we saw earlier).

What will our immortal bodies be like?

The above passages tell us that our mortal bodies will be transformed to be like Jesus' glorified body. We will be like Him, so let's try to find out what He was like after His resurrection. Here are some clues that the Bible gives us:

  1. Jesus' voice was recognizable:
    "At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. "Woman," he said, "why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?" Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him." Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher)." (John 20:14-16)
    Mary was mourning the death of Jesus, and she was upset that His body had been moved. She did not expect to see Jesus alive, so she assumed at first that the man she was talking to was the gardener. However, when Jesus spoke her name, she recognized His voice and realized who He was.

    Our glorified, immortal bodies will be similar to Jesus' glorified body, so our voices will probably be recognizable to each other just as they were on earth.
  2. Jesus' body was recognizable:
    "On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. ... Then [Jesus] said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!"" (John 20:19-28)
    The disciples recognized Jesus, which means that He had the same appearance in His glorified body that He had before His death and resurrection. In fact, He still had the nail holes as well as the hole in His side from the spear thrust! (see John 19:34). Jesus' glorified body still contained the wounds that He received at His crucifixion, and these wounds convinced "Doubting Thomas" that Jesus was resurrected and that He is the living God. Also notice that Jesus breathed and that He spoke.

    Our glorified, immortal bodies will be similar to Jesus' glorified body, so we will probably be recognizable to one another, just as we were on earth.
  3. Jesus was able to walk:
    "Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him." (Luke 24:13-16)
    After Jesus' resurrection, He walked to Emmaus with two disciples (although they were kept from recognizing Him at first).

    Our glorified, immortal bodies will be similar to Jesus' glorified body, so we will probably be able to do normal things with our bodies such as walking.
  4. Jesus' glorified body was made of "flesh and bones," and He was able to eat food:
    "While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have." When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, "Do you have anything here to eat?" They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence." (Luke 24:36-43)

    "After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about."" (Acts 1:3-4)

    "Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom."" (Matthew 26:27-29)
    After His resurrection, Jesus said that His glorified body was made of flesh and bones, and He was able to eat food. He also said that He will one day drink of the fruit of the vine in His Father's kingdom.

    Our glorified, immortal bodies will be similar to Jesus' glorified body, so it is possible that in some way our resurrection bodies will be made of "flesh and bones," and we will probably be able to eat and drink. Notice that Jesus did not say that He was made of "flesh and blood," and compare this with the apostle Paul's statement:
    "So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being" ; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven. I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed--in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality." (1 Corinthians 15:42-53)
    Paul said that our bodies will be raised immortal and imperishable, and they will be raised in glory, and they will be raised in power, and they will be raised as spiritual bodies, and they will be like Jesus' glorified body. When Paul said that "flesh and blood" cannot inherit the kingdom of God, he was referring to our natural, mortal bodies. We must be "translated" into our immortal, imperishable bodies before we can enter heaven. Here's what one commentary says concerning Jesus' statement that He was made of "flesh and bones":
    "He says not "flesh and blood"; for the blood is the life of the animal and corruptible body (Genesis 9:4), which "cannot inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 15:50); but "flesh and bones," implying the identity, but with diversity of laws, of the resurrection body." (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary Offsite Link)
    While He lived on the earth, Jesus was not corrupted by sin but He did have a mortal body made of "flesh and blood" (remember, He died on the cross, which means that He had a mortal body). The author of the book of Hebrews compared Jesus' mortal body with our bodies of "flesh and blood":
    "Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death--that is, the devil" (Hebrews 2:14)
    Before His death, Jesus had a mortal "flesh and blood" body, just like we do (but without sin). However, after His resurrection He described His glorified, immortal body a little differently. He said that His body was made of "flesh and bones," which is the only place that this expression appears in the entire New Testament. This might simply be an issue of semantics, or it might give us another clue about our resurrection bodies (as the commentary indicates above). Some people might say that Jesus had not yet been glorified at that point, and therefore He was still in His physical body. But the greatest weight of Scriptural evidence argues against this view (see my article called The Baptism of the Holy Spirit). Besides, when Jesus said that His body was made of flesh and bones, He had just appeared among the disciples in a locked room. There is no record of Jesus walking through walls (so to speak) before His resurrection, which also argues in favor of the fact that He was in His glorified resurrection body at that point. Is it possible that our glorified, resurrected, spiritual bodies will somehow be made of flesh and bones? Time will tell.
  5. Jesus was able to appear and disappear:
    "On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!"" (John 20:19)

    "A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!"" (John 20:26)

    "When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight." (Luke 24:30-31)
    There is no record in the New Testament of Jesus "walking through walls" or disappearing at will before His death and resurrection. As far as we can tell, this seems to be something that He only did in His glorified body.

    Our glorified, immortal bodies will be similar to Jesus' glorified body, so perhaps we will be able to appear and disappear at will just like Jesus did. It has been suggested that the universe in all its beauty was created partly for our pleasure, even though as mortals we can only see it in a very limited way. It has further been suggested that in our glorified bodies we may be able to travel "at the speed of thought" (so to speak), and that we may be able to visit any place in the universe that we desire. This is not as farfetched as it may sound because the angels are able to travel in ways that we can't, and Jesus specifically said that we will be like the angels:
    "When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven." (Mark 12:25)

    "and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."" (Luke 2:7-15)

    "Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth--to every nation, tribe, language and people." (Revelation 14:6)
    We can see that angels are able to appear and disappear, and they apparently are able to travel invisibly (or perhaps instantaneously), and they can fly in midair. Since Jesus said that we will be like the angels, it is possible that in our glorified, immortal bodies we will be able to travel as the angels do. Also, notice that Mark 12:25 (above) says that there will be no marriages among the "immortals."

To summarize, the Bible says that we shall bear the likeness of the man from heaven (1 Corinthians 15:42-53), and that our lowly bodies will be transformed to be like Jesus' body (Philippians 3:20-4:1), and that we shall be like Him when He appears (1 John 3:2). Therefore, it is possible that some or all of the things that Jesus was able to do in His glorified body, we may be able to do these things in our glorified bodies as well.


Government during the Millennium

The Millennial Kingdom will not be a democracy, it will be an absolute monarchy. To be more specific, it will be a theocracy. This means that it will be ruled by God in the physical Person of Jesus Christ, who will sit on the throne of David:
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this." (Isaiah 9:6-7)

"But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."" (Luke 1:30-33)

"On that day [the day of the Second Coming] his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. On that day there will be no light, no cold or frost. It will be a unique day, without daytime or nighttime--a day known to the LORD. When evening comes, there will be light. On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea and half to the western sea, in summer and in winter. The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name." (Zechariah 14:4-9)
Jesus will be the King over the "immortals" (the Old Testament saints, the Church Age Christians, and the Tribulation martyrs, all of whom will be resurrected and will be made immortal before the Millennium begins), and He will be the King over the mortals who survived the Tribulation and who survived the Sheep and Goats Judgment. These mortals will all be saved through faith in Christ (see my article called The Second Coming), but they will still have a sin nature. They will also have children who will need to become saved. Even though the devil will be locked in the Abyss during the Millennium (as we saw earlier), people will still sin. Because of this sin nature in the mortal people during the Millennium, Christ will rule the world in righteousness but with a rod of iron:
"She [the nation of Israel] gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne." (Revelation 12:5)

"Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS." (Revelation 19:15-16)

"Of Solomon. Endow the king with your justice, O God, the royal son with your righteousness. He will judge your people in righteousness, your afflicted ones with justice." (Psalms 72:1-2)

"A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him-- the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD--and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist." (Isaiah 11:1-5)
Jesus will be the King over all the earth, and it appears that the resurrected King David will rule over Israel:
"How awful that day will be! None will be like it. It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it. 'In that day,' declares the LORD Almighty, 'I will break the yoke off their necks and will tear off their bonds; no longer will foreigners enslave them. Instead, they will serve the LORD their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them." (Jeremiah 30:7-9)

"I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd. I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them. I the LORD have spoken." (Ezekiel 34:23-24)

"I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms. They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and vile images or with any of their offenses, for I will save them from all their sinful backsliding, and I will cleanse them. They will be my people, and I will be their God. My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees. They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children's children will live there forever, and David my servant will be their prince forever." (Ezekiel 37:22-25)

"For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or idol. Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the LORD and to his blessings in the last days." (Hosea 3:4-5)
The above passages are talking about the future Millennial Kingdom, and they were all written hundreds of years after David died. These passages say that the resurrected David will be the king over Israel, and he will be a prince under the true King, Jesus.

King David will rule over all of Israel, but the 12 apostles will apparently rule over the 12 tribes of Israel:
"Peter answered him, "We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?" Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."" (Matthew 19:27-28)

"And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." (Luke 22:29-30)
In addition to "the prince" (King David) and the twelve apostles, there will also be other princes, rulers, judges, and counselors:
"The prince will have the land bordering each side of the area formed by the sacred district and the property of the city. It will extend westward from the west side and eastward from the east side, running lengthwise from the western to the eastern border parallel to one of the tribal portions. This land will be his possession in Israel. And my princes will no longer oppress my people but will allow the house of Israel to possess the land according to their tribes." (Ezekiel 45:7-8)

"See, a king will reign in righteousness and rulers will rule with justice." (Isaiah 32:1)

"Therefore the Lord, the LORD Almighty, the Mighty One of Israel, declares: "Ah, I will get relief from my foes and avenge myself on my enemies. I will turn my hand against you; I will thoroughly purge away your dross and remove all your impurities. I will restore your judges as in days of old, your counselors as at the beginning. Afterward you will be called the City of Righteousness, the Faithful City." Zion will be redeemed with justice, her penitent ones with righteousness." (Isaiah 1:24-27)
We saw a moment ago that the resurrected King David will be the prince over Israel, serving under the true King, Jesus (Ezekiel 34:23-24). The first passage above describes the land that David ("the prince") will possess, and it tells us that there will be other princes ruling in righteousness under King David. The second passage tells us that rulers will rule with justice under the righteous King. The third passage tells us that when the Lord avenges Himself on His enemies (at the Second Coming), He will then restore judges and counselors to Israel. These princes, rulers, judges, and counselors will possibly include Old Testament saints, such as the resurrected Zerubbabel:
"'Tell Zerubbabel governor of Judah that I will shake the heavens and the earth. I will overturn royal thrones and shatter the power of the foreign kingdoms. I will overthrow chariots and their drivers; horses and their riders will fall, each by the sword of his brother. On that day,' declares the LORD Almighty, 'I will take you, my servant Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel,' declares the LORD, 'and I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you,' declares the LORD Almighty." (Haggai 2:21-23)
The above passage says that at the time when the Lord shakes the heavens and the earth and totally shatters the power of the armies of the nations (which has never happened before, but will happen at the Second Coming), He will exalt the resurrected Zerubbabel as a "signet ring" (a kingly symbol of power and authority).

So King David will rule over all of Israel, the apostles will be the next level in the Jewish government, and beneath them will be princes, rulers, judges, and counselors (which will possibly be made up of the immortal Old Testament saints such as Zerubbabel).

If you recall, we saw earlier that the Church Age Christians and the Tribulation martyrs will co-reign with Jesus. It appears that Israel will be ruled by King David and the Old Testament saints, and therefore possibly the Gentile nations will be ruled by the New Testament saints. In addition, the Gentile nations will have mortal kings over them:
"In his days the righteous will flourish; prosperity will abound till the moon is no more. He will rule from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth. The desert tribes will bow before him and his enemies will lick the dust. The kings of Tarshish and of distant shores will bring tribute to him; the kings of Sheba and Seba will present him gifts. All kings will bow down to him and all nations will serve him." (Psalms 72:7-11)
These mortal Gentile kings will possibly be under the authority of the immortal Church saints and Tribulation martyrs, who are co-reigning with Jesus.

Also, the Gentile nations will become servants of Israel:
"This is what the LORD Almighty says: "In those days ten men from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, 'Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.'"" (Zechariah 8:23)

"The LORD will have compassion on Jacob; once again he will choose Israel and will settle them in their own land. Aliens will join them and unite with the house of Jacob. Nations will take them and bring them to their own place. And the house of Israel will possess the nations as menservants and maidservants in the Lord's land. They will make captives of their captors and rule over their oppressors." (Isaiah 14:1-2)

"This is what the Sovereign LORD says: "See, I will beckon to the Gentiles, I will lift up my banner to the peoples; they will bring your sons in their arms and carry your daughters on their shoulders. Kings will be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers. They will bow down before you with their faces to the ground; they will lick the dust at your feet. Then you will know that I am the LORD; those who hope in me will not be disappointed."" (Isaiah 49:22-23)

"They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. Aliens will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards. And you will be called priests of the LORD, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs. For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery and iniquity. In my faithfulness I will reward them and make an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the LORD has blessed." (Isaiah 61:4-9)

""At that time I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home. I will give you honor and praise among all the peoples of the earth when I restore your fortunes before your very eyes," says the LORD." (Zephaniah 3:20)
To the Jews, a reference to "the nations" specifically means "the Gentile nations." The above passages tell us that Israel will be honored above all nations in the Millennial Kingdom. Notice that the distinction between Israel and the Gentiles will be maintained throughout the Millennium. Later we will see that this distinction will be maintained throughout eternity.

Now we have an idea of how the Millennial Kingdom will be governed. For a more detailed description of life and government in the Millennium, one good resource is The Footsteps of the Messiah, by Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum.


Righteousness, peace, security, and prosperity during the Millennium

The Bible says that the Millennium will be a time of unprecedented peace, security, and prosperity. For example, when the resurrected King David is ruling over Israel, there will be no more wild beasts and there will be an abundance in the land:
"I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd. I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them. I the LORD have spoken. I will make a covenant of peace with them and rid the land of wild beasts so that they may live in the desert and sleep in the forests in safety. I will bless them and the places surrounding my hill. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing. The trees of the field will yield their fruit and the ground will yield its crops; the people will be secure in their land. They will know that I am the LORD, when I break the bars of their yoke and rescue them from the hands of those who enslaved them. They will no longer be plundered by the nations, nor will wild animals devour them. They will live in safety, and no one will make them afraid. I will provide for them a land renowned for its crops, and they will no longer be victims of famine in the land or bear the scorn of the nations. Then they will know that I, the LORD their God, am with them and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, declares the Sovereign LORD." (Ezekiel 34:23-30)
The book of Ezekiel was written long after King David died, yet the passage above says that God will place David over Israel in a time of unprecedented peace, security, and prosperity. During the Millennium, the people will be secure in their land, and they will be free from attacks by the nations, and their land will be renowned for its crops, and there will be no more wild beasts, and so on.

The prophet Isaiah also spoke about peace and security during the Millennium, as in these examples:
"The fortress will be abandoned, the noisy city deserted; citadel and watchtower will become a wasteland forever, the delight of donkeys, a pasture for flocks, till the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the desert becomes a fertile field, and the fertile field seems like a forest. Justice will dwell in the desert and righteousness live in the fertile field. The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest. Though hail flattens the forest and the city is leveled completely, how blessed you will be, sowing your seed by every stream, and letting your cattle and donkeys range free." (Isaiah 32:14-20)

"say to those with fearful hearts, "Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you." Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow. And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in that Way; wicked fools will not go about on it. No lion will be there, nor will any ferocious beast get up on it; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, and the ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away." (Isaiah 35:4-10)

"You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the Lord's renown, for an everlasting sign, which will not be destroyed." (Isaiah 55:12-13)
This peace during the Millennium will also extend to the animal kingdom, because all wild beasts will become tame and harmless. Notice that before the Flood, all animals and humans were plant-eaters:
"[before the Flood] So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. ... Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground-- everything that has the breath of life in it--I give every green plant for food." And it was so." (Genesis 1:27-30)

"[after the Flood] Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you will fall upon all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon every creature that moves along the ground, and upon all the fish of the sea; they are given into your hands. Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything."" (Genesis 9:1-3)
There is not a single example of a predatory animal before the Flood, nor is there any example of an animal or a human eating meat before the Flood. All life on earth was vegetarian, as Genesis 1:27-30 tells us (above). Now notice in the following prophetic passages that God tells us that wild animals will one day be restored to that harmless, vegetarian, pre-Fall state:
"[Jesus] must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets." (Acts 3:21)

"The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea." (Isaiah 11:6-9)

""The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent's food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain," says the LORD." (Isaiah 65:25)
So all wild animals will be peaceful, tame, harmless, and vegetarian during the Millennium because God will restore the earth to its pre-curse state.

In fact, during the Millennium (when Jesus is physically living in Jerusalem), people will neither learn about nor train for war:
"In the last days the mountain of the Lord's temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths." The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore." (Isaiah 2:2-4)
As we will see in a moment, it appears that the Millennial city of Jerusalem will be situated on top of a new mountain which will be raised far above all other mountains on earth. This is where Jesus will live and where He will dispense His judgments. During this time (at least until near the end of the Millennium), people will no longer train for war, and nations will not go to war against each other.

With all of this security, peace, and prosperity, people's lifespans will be greatly increased (just like before the Flood when people lived into their 900's - Genesis 5:5-31):
"I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed [or, "the sinner who reaches a hundred will be considered accursed," according to the NIV footnote, and according to other translations]. They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands. They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants with them. Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent's food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain," says the LORD." (Isaiah 65:19-25)
During the Millennium, when there will be unprecedented peace, security, prosperity, and safety (when even the wild animals are tame and harmless), people's lifespans will be dramatically increased. The above passage tells us that a person who reaches 100 years old will be considered to be a mere youth! It also says that there will no longer be any infant deaths. Comparing the above passage in several Bible translations, it appears that all of the people who will be born during the Millennium will live for at least 100 years. At this point, if they have not received salvation through faith in Christ then they will die. For everyone who receives salvation, 100 years old will be considered to be mere childhood, and they will all live out their years until the end of the Millennium. There is never any mention in the Bible of a resurrection from the dead for the righteous people after the Millennium because the resurrection of the righteous (the "first" resurrection) ended just after the Second Coming, as we saw earlier. This seems to indicate that all mortal believers will survive until the end of the thousand years. This would mean that death during the Millennium will only happen for unbelievers, and it means that no unbeliever will live past his 100th birthday. In addition, it appears that death during the Millennium will only exist for the Gentiles, not for the Jews:
""The time is coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them," declares the LORD. "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares the LORD. "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."" (Jeremiah 31:31-34)
In the above passage, God says that He will make a special covenant with Israel. God will put His laws into their minds and their hearts, and they will all know Him, from the least of them to the greatest. We saw that death during the Millennium will only exist for unbelievers, and God says that He will make a special covenant with Israel in which He will cause all Jews to know Him. Therefore, only the Gentiles will be able to be unbelievers, which means that death will exist only for Gentiles during the thousand years, not for Jews.


The Millennial Jerusalem

At the end of the seven-year Tribulation, the earth will go through some cataclysmic changes:
"The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, "It is done!" Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found." (Revelation 16:17-20)

"On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south." (Zechariah 14:4)
During these geographic upheavals, it appears that one mountain will be lifted up to become the highest mountain in the world. The Millennial city of Jerusalem and the Millennial temple will be on the top of this mountain:
"This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem: In the last days the mountain of the Lord's temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths." The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore." (Isaiah 2:1-4)

"In the last days the mountain of the Lord's temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. Many nations will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths." The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Every man will sit under his own vine and under his own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the LORD Almighty has spoken." (Micah 4:1-4)

"For on my holy mountain, the high mountain of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD, there in the land the entire house of Israel will serve me, and there I will accept them." (Ezekiel 20:40)
So it appears that a mountain will rise up to become the highest mountain in the world. The laws and judgments of the Lord will go out from this mountain, because Jesus will be physically living there in the Millennial city of Jerusalem. For this reason, the city of Jerusalem will become the center of worship for Jews and Gentiles:
"In that day the LORD will thresh from the flowing Euphrates to the Wadi of Egypt, and you, O Israelites, will be gathered up one by one. And in that day a great trumpet will sound. Those who were perishing in Assyria and those who were exiled in Egypt will come and worship the LORD on the holy mountain in Jerusalem." (Isaiah 27:12-13)

"For this is what the LORD says: "To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant--to them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off. And foreigners who bind themselves to the LORD to serve him, to love the name of the LORD, and to worship him, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant-- these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations." The Sovereign LORD declares-- he who gathers the exiles of Israel: "I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered."" (Isaiah 56:4-8)
So the high holy mountain will become the center of worship for Israel and "the nations" (the Gentiles).

In the last nine chapters of his book, the prophet Ezekiel gives us exact descriptions of the Millennial temple and its surrounding buildings, with precise measurements, dimensions, and so on. To get an idea of how specific Ezekiel was, skim through the first 20 verses of chapter 40:
"In the twenty-fifth year of our exile, at the beginning of the year, on the tenth of the month, in the fourteenth year after the fall of the city--on that very day the hand of the LORD was upon me and he took me there. In visions of God he took me to the land of Israel and set me on a very high mountain, on whose south side were some buildings that looked like a city. He took me there, and I saw a man whose appearance was like bronze; he was standing in the gateway with a linen cord and a measuring rod in his hand. The man said to me, "Son of man, look with your eyes and hear with your ears and pay attention to everything I am going to show you, for that is why you have been brought here. Tell the house of Israel everything you see." I saw a wall completely surrounding the temple area. The length of the measuring rod in the man's hand was six long cubits, each of which was a cubit and a handbreadth. He measured the wall; it was one measuring rod thick and one rod high. Then he went to the gate facing east. He climbed its steps and measured the threshold of the gate; it was one rod deep. The alcoves for the guards were one rod long and one rod wide, and the projecting walls between the alcoves were five cubits thick. And the threshold of the gate next to the portico facing the temple was one rod deep. Then he measured the portico of the gateway; it was eight cubits deep and its jambs were two cubits thick. The portico of the gateway faced the temple. Inside the east gate were three alcoves on each side; the three had the same measurements, and the faces of the projecting walls on each side had the same measurements. Then he measured the width of the entrance to the gateway; it was ten cubits and its length was thirteen cubits. In front of each alcove was a wall one cubit high, and the alcoves were six cubits square. Then he measured the gateway from the top of the rear wall of one alcove to the top of the opposite one; the distance was twenty-five cubits from one parapet opening to the opposite one. He measured along the faces of the projecting walls all around the inside of the gateway--sixty cubits. The measurement was up to the portico facing the courtyard. The distance from the entrance of the gateway to the far end of its portico was fifty cubits. The alcoves and the projecting walls inside the gateway were surmounted by narrow parapet openings all around, as was the portico; the openings all around faced inward. The faces of the projecting walls were decorated with palm trees. Then he brought me into the outer court. There I saw some rooms and a pavement that had been constructed all around the court; there were thirty rooms along the pavement. It abutted the sides of the gateways and was as wide as they were long; this was the lower pavement. Then he measured the distance from the inside of the lower gateway to the outside of the inner court; it was a hundred cubits on the east side as well as on the north. Then he measured the length and width of the gate facing north, leading into the outer court."
We can see that Ezekiel was shown exactly how the Millennial temple will look, along with precise measurements of its features, and he was told to give this information to Israel. For the rest of chapter 40, and for the next eight chapters, Ezekiel gives exact dimensions of the temple and its rooms and walls and courtyard, the decorations, the sanctuaries, the carvings, exact dimensions and descriptions of other buildings around the courtyard, precise regulations for the priests and others to follow, precise allotments of land and boundaries for the various tribes of Israel, and so on. This temple has never been built, and with the great number of specific descriptions that Ezekiel provides it would be hard to imagine anyone taking this as anything but a literal temple which will be built in the future.

And yet there is a potential problem with the literal interpretation of this prophecy, which leads some people to interpret all nine of those chapters in Ezekiel as being symbolic. The "problem" is that Ezekiel described animal sacrifices in this temple (see Ezekiel 40:41-42, 43:18-27, 44:11, 15, 46:2-7, for example). If Ezekiel was describing an actual temple which will be built sometime in the future, why would God require animal sacrifices similar to those in the Old Testament? After all, the Bible says that Jesus offered one sacrifice for sins, and no other sacrifice for sin is needed (Hebrews 10:12, 18). Therefore, Ezekiel could not have been describing a literal, future temple because his description included animal sacrifices, right? Doesn't this mean that those nine chapters are all symbolic? Not necessarily. For example, notice that the Old Testament sacrifices were never capable of taking away sins:
"But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins." (Hebrews 10:3-4)

"Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins." (Hebrews 10:11)
The Old Testament animal sacrifices were reminders of sin, but they did not take away sin. Only Jesus can free us from our sins. Instead, the Old Testament animal sacrifices were a "picture" of what Jesus was going to do on the cross. In a similar way, the animal sacrifices in the Millennial temple will be a "picture" and a reminder of what Jesus has already accomplished for us. Remember, God always wants the significance of Jesus' death to be commemorated, even during the Church Age:
"For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes." (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)
The Lord's Supper is a "picture" and a reminder of the Lord's sacrifice for us, and we are told to continue proclaiming His death in this way "until He comes" (1 Corinthians 11:26, above). After He comes, it appears that the animal sacrifices in the Millennial temple will be the "picture" and the reminder of His sacrifice. Perhaps the Lord's Supper will continue to be done during the Millennium, but the Bible doesn't specifically say that.

Animal sacrifices in the Old Testament were never intended to take away sins, so there is no theological problem with having animal sacrifices in the Millennial temple. Therefore, there is no reason to try to "spiritualize away" nine full chapters in Ezekiel, especially when those chapters are treated as literal descriptions of exactly how the Millennial temple will look, along with precise measurements of its features, exact dimensions of the temple and its rooms and walls and courtyard, the decorations, the sanctuaries, the carvings, exact dimensions and descriptions of other buildings around the courtyard, precise regulations for the priests and others to follow, precise allotments of land and boundaries for the various tribes of Israel, and so on.

So now we have an idea of what life will be like during "the thousand years."


When the Thousand Years Are Over

So far we have seen that Jesus will physically rule on the earth for one thousand years after the Second Coming.

What will happen when the thousand years are over?
"When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth--Gog and Magog--to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city he loves." (Revelation 20:7-9)
According to this passage, the devil will be released from the Abyss at the end of the Millennium, and he will gather together a huge army of humans to make war against the Lord. If you think about it, this is shocking! At this point, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has been physically living on earth along with the immortal saints for a thousand years, and people have experienced a time of incredible peace and prosperity and longevity such as the world has never seen before. What more proof could anyone need that God exists and that the Bible is true? And yet the devil will be able to raise a huge army of humans who are willing to do battle against the Lord! Remember, the devil will be locked away during the entire Millennium, and he will not be able to oppress or afflict anyone during that time. It is a sorry testimony to mankind's sinful, fallen state that even in the absence of the devil and in the physical presence of God, people are so rebellious that they can still be persuaded to join an army against God when the devil reappears on the scene.

This army will be short-lived, however:
"They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever." (Revelation 20:9-10)
This passage says that the devil and the Antichrist (the "beast") and the False Prophet will be tormented in the Lake of Fire (i.e. hell) for ever and ever. As we will see, this is the same Lake of Fire into which the unbelievers throughout all time will be thrown. Notice that even though the world thinks that the devil is currently the ruler of hell, he has never actually been there before! The devil won't be cast into the Lake of Fire until "the thousand years" are over, and he will be tormented there for all eternity (Revelation 20:9-10, above). He will not be the ruler of hell.

At this point (at the end of the Millennium), Christ has ruled until He has destroyed all of His enemies, and now all power and authority will be turned over to God the Father:
"For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he "has put everything under his feet." Now when it says that "everything" has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all." (1 Corinthians 15:22-28)
Notice that the last enemy to be destroyed is not the devil, but death itself. Recall that everyone who will be born during the Millennium will need to receive salvation through faith in Jesus, but those who don't receive salvation will die at 100 years old. Therefore, death will exist in the Millennium, but after the Millennium ends there will be no more death, ever!

After the devil is cast into the Lake of Fire, the Lord will sit in judgment of all sinners throughout history. This is often referred to as "The Great White Throne Judgment":
"And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done." (Revelation 20:10-13)
Judgment Day has arrived!

At this point, all of the Old Testament saints have been made immortal, all of the Church Age saints have been made immortal, and all of the Tribulation martyrs have been made immortal (all of which happened before the Millennium began). Also, the survivors of the Tribulation (all of whom had received salvation before the Millennium began, as we saw) have all survived until the end of the Millennium (because the only people who died during the Millennium were those Gentiles who had not received salvation by their 100th birthday). So when Judgment Day comes, the only people who are still dead are all of the unrighteous people throughout history. The only exceptions are the Antichrist and the false prophet, because they were thrown into the Lake of Fire before the Millennium began (Revelation 20:10, above).

The Great White Throne Judgment is not for determining who is saved and who isn't, because everyone who goes through this judgment is unsaved and will be cast into the Lake of Fire.

Notice in Revelation 20:10-13 (above) that "books" will be opened, and the people will be judged according to their deeds which are recorded in these books. Since these people are all going to hell (i.e. the Lake of Fire), then what is the purpose of judging them according to their earthly deeds? Watch what Jesus said:
"Then Jesus began to denounce the cities in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. "Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths. If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you."" (Matthew 11:20-24)
Jesus said that it will be more bearable for some people than for others on Judgment Day. Why will it be more bearable for some than for others? Because some people are guilty of "greater" sins:
"Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin."" (John 19:11)
According to the deeds that are recorded in the heavenly books, some people will be guilty of greater sins than other people. Therefore, it will be more bearable for some than for others on Judgment Day. This might also be what Jesus was referring to when He said:
"That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." (Luke 12:47-48)
Some people will be "beaten with many blows" (they will receive a greater punishment), and some people will be "beaten with few blows" (they will receive a lesser punishment). The basis for this punishment will be the things which the people had done on earth, because all of their deeds are recorded in the books which will be opened up on Judgment Day. We don't exactly know what it means for unbelievers to have "greater" or "lesser" punishment because the Bible doesn't give us that information. Some people might argue that the "lesser" punishment refers to a shorter time spent in the Lake of Fire before being "annihilated" and put out of their misery. However, the weight of Scriptural evidence does not support the "annihilation" theory (see my article called Will Sinners Burn in Hell Forever?).

On the day of judgment, every person whose name is not found written in the Book of Life (in other words, every unbeliever throughout history) will be cast into the Lake of Fire:
"Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." (Revelation 20:14-15)
After the Great White Throne Judgment, every unbeliever throughout history will be in the Lake of Fire, and the devil and all of his demons will be in the Lake of Fire, and death and Hades will be in the Lake of Fire (somehow). The rest of us will live forever with God.

But we will not be in heaven!


Eternity

After the Great White Throne Judgment, the existing heavens and earth will be destroyed:
"He also says, "In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end."" (Hebrews 1:10-12)

"But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him." (2 Peter 3:10-14)
After the current heavens and earth are destroyed, God will create a new heaven and earth:
"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea." (Revelation 21:1)
One interesting thing about the new earth is that it will have no sea.

But why does there need to be a new earth? After all, aren't we supposed to spend eternity in heaven? It turns out that we will spend eternity on the earth, and there will be a New Jerusalem on the new earth:
"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband." (Revelation 21:1-2)
So we can see that after God destroys the old earth and creates a new earth, a new city of Jerusalem will come down out of heaven to the earth. This is what the apostle Paul was referring to:
"Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother." (Galatians 4:25-26)
Paul referred to two Jerusalems: the present city of Jerusalem (which exists on the present earth) and the Jerusalem that is above (which will come down onto the future earth). The author of Hebrews also spoke of the heavenly Jerusalem:
"By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God." (Hebrews 11:8-10)

"You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; ... But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect" (Hebrews 12:18-23)
After the heavenly Jerusalem comes down to the new earth, God Himself will come down and will live on the earth with us!
"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."" (Revelation 21:3-4)
We immortals will live on the earth for all eternity, and God will come down and live with us. There will never again be any death or mourning or crying or pain. The old order of things has passed away at this point, forever removing the curse that God had placed on the earth because of Adam's sin (Genesis 3:14-19).

The Lord told the apostle John that He will make everything new, and that these words are trustworthy and true. These things will take place! The Lord has spoken it, and it is done:
"He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." He said to me: "It is done."" (Revelation 21:5-6)
Next, Jesus said that we believers will be able to drink from the spring of the water of life. The new heavens, the new earth, and the new Jerusalem will be our inheritance. However, the inheritance of the unbelievers will be the Lake of Fire, which is the second death:
"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars--their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death." (Revelation 21:6-8)
Here is a description of the heavenly Jerusalem:
"One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, "Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb." And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long. He measured its wall and it was 144 cubits thick, by man's measurement, which the angel was using. The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass. I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life." (Revelation 21:9-27)
This passage is John's attempt to describe the beauty and the majesty of the heavenly Jerusalem, using earthly images that he and his readers were familiar with. How difficult it is to capture such heavenly splendor with mere words! Notice that there will not be a temple in the New Jerusalem, "because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple." So once again we are told that God will dwell on the earth with us. This passage also tells us that the names of the twelve tribes of Israel will be written on the gates of the New Jerusalem, so these Jewish names will be remembered and memorialized for all eternity. The names of the twelve apostles will similarly be remembered and memorialized throughout all eternity. Also notice that there will be no night, because the glory of the Lord will shine brightly forever, giving the city its light. This passage says that "the nations" will walk by this light, and to the Jews, a reference to "the nations" always means "the Gentile nations." Therefore, the distinction between Jews and Gentiles will be maintained throughout all eternity. Nothing impure or unrighteous will ever enter into the New Jerusalem because all unrighteous humans and unrighteous angels will forever be confined to the Lake of Fire.

From the throne of God will flow the river of the water of life, and the tree of life will extend across the river:
"Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life" (Revelation 22:1-2)
Notice in the above passage that this tree is called "the" tree of life, and notice that the tree of life in the Garden of Eden was also called "the" tree of life:
"And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground--trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." (Genesis 2:9)

"And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever."" (Genesis 3:22)

"After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life." (Genesis 3:24)
So it appears that the tree of life from the Garden of Eden will return after God removes the curse from the earth:
"On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse." (Revelation 22:2-3)
The original curse on the earth from Adam's fall will be totally removed, and the tree of life from the Garden of Eden will return. It will yield fruit, and its leaves will somehow provide "healing" to the nations, perhaps in a "preventing" sense rather than in a "curing" sense (the Greek word for "healing" in this passage is where we get the English word "therapeutic"). Notice that the tree of life will yield its fruit "every month." This indicates that there will be some kind of dating system. However, this dating system will be unlike our present dating system, because it will not be based on the sun or the moon:
"I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there." (Revelation 21:22-25)

"The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever." (Revelation 22:3-5)
These passages tell us that there will be no need for the sun or the moon since there will be no night. Once again we can see a parallel with the original Creation, because there was light from the first day of Creation (Genesis 1:3-5), but for a time there was no sun or moon (until the fourth day of Creation - Genesis 1:14-19). The above passages also tell us that God will live with us on the earth in the New Jerusalem throughout eternity, and we will serve Him.


Conclusion

Bible scholars say that approximately one out of every three or four verses in the Bible deals with prophecy. Prophecy is obviously very important to God, and therefore it should be very important to us as well! In fact, the prophetic book of Revelation is the only book in the entire Bible which pronounces a blessing on everyone who reads it and takes it to heart, and this blessing is given both at the beginning and at the end of Revelation:
"Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near." (Revelation 1:3)

"Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book." (Revelation 22:7)
God gave us prophecy to instruct us and to give us hope and to fill us with excitement about the things that He is planning for us! We have a blessed hope and a blessed future! Let this spur you on to serve the Lord with all of your heart, and to help bring more people into the Kingdom so that they will be spared from eternal torment in the Lake of Fire!

To get an idea of how close we seem to be to the pre-trib Rapture and the beginning of the seven-year Tribulation, please continue on to my article called Signs of the Times in End-Times Bible Prophecy.
 
 
 
  Modification History  
 
 

  • 08/02/2004 - Added a new bullet item called "The restoration of all things" in the section called "Events Which Will Take Place Before the Millennium Begins."
  • 04/10/2004 - Made some minor clarifications.
  • 03/09/2004 - Modified some of the wording, especially in the sections called "The final regathering of the Jews" and "The resurrection of the Old Testament saints and the Tribulation martyrs."
  • 01/02/2004 - Added a section concerning Matthew 24:31.
  • 05/17/2001 - New article.