Chapter 14 Future Ages
Extraordinary events set the stage just prior to the Millennium. Satan will be thrown into the Abyss for a thousand years. Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; (Revelation 20:1-2). With Satan bound sin will be greatly reduced, but not completely eliminated. Sin does not always require a deception or enticement from Satan, but can result from flaws in human nature (James 1:14-15; 1 John 2:16).
John then describes the family of God in heaven. Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. (Revelation 20:4a) Believers will be given the authority to judge (1 Corinthians 6:2-3). And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, (Revelation 20:4b). In the end-time story there are references to martyrs, they are to be given special recognition.
Israelis who were martyred while awaiting Christ’s return will be resurrected, bringing to life all of God’s people: those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4c) Martyrs not belonging to Israel were resurrected from the dead at the last trumpet; at that point the time of salvation being offered to gentiles ended; only Israelis could obtain salvation after that point. (Romans 11:25-26)
Inserted is a reference to the fate of the damned, which is a break in the story. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. (Revelation 20:5a). That the rest of the dead are not resurrected until the thousand years are ended—refers to the final and largest harvest, which resurrects persons condemned to the lake of fire.
Then the story continues with the good fortune of believers. The “first resurrection” is the resurrection of God’s people, which occurs during six distinct harvests. Those who take part in the first resurrection will reign with Christ during the Millennium. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:5b-6)
The first resurrection is for believers and is comprised of six separate harvests. The seventh harvest is a resurrection of the condemned.
|The First Resurrection||1. Rapture||Philadelphia Church|
|2. Rapture||Two Witnesses|
|3. Resurrection||Asleep in Christ|
|4. Rapture||Left Behind Saints, Tribulation Saints|
|5. God’s Wrath||Israeli Survivors|
|6. Israeli Resurrection||Israeli Martyrs|
|The Second Death||7. Great White Throne||The Damned|
God restores the earth after the end-time environmental disasters, making it an awesome place to live. Jesus will reign on earth as King. His people will reign in subordinate roles. People who are born during this time will enjoy a long life, living to be hundreds of years old; there will be meaningful work and great prosperity (Isaiah 65:17-21). The Millennium ends with Satan being released to once again to lead the enemies of God into battle. However, the attempted assault is confronted before even a single skirmish occurs, as fire from heaven destroys those who assemble to attack God’s people (Revelation 20:7-9).
The final harvest follows the Millennium. This harvest resurrects people destined for the lake of fire and brings them before Jesus’ throne. Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. (Revelation 20:11-12)
These unfortunate people will stand in total despair before the great white throne of Jesus Christ. Even after being resurrected, this pathetic group is still described as “the dead”. Decayed bodies are resurrected in no better condition than at the time of their death. The condemned will have bodies that are constantly dying, but unable to die. Jesus said that the lake of fire is a place where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED. (Mark 9:48) The condemned are also tormented with brimstone, which is a burning sulfur (Revelation 21:8). Organic sulfur is an odor associated with rotten eggs, and sulfur dioxide is a suffocating odor.
The final heaven will be a garden city where God dwells with his people. The tree of life seen the Garden of Eden, will be in this Garden of Jerusalem (Genesis 2:9; Revelation 22:2). And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:2-4)
PARTIAL RAPTURE THEORY