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Prophecy 16

Earth Purified –
Revelation 20:11 – 21:1

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Beginning Point in Time: When the 1,000 Years Are Over and New Jerusalem Rests on Earth
Ending Point in Time: Soon After the Creation of a New Heaven and Earth

Summary:

This prophecy describes the end of sin and sinners.  God will resurrect the wicked at the end of the 1,000 years to hear the reason why they are doomed and then destroy them.  After sinners and the curse of sin are consumed by fire, Jesus will create a new Heaven and a new Earth and the saints will inherit the new Earth.

Introduction

Through the centuries, many people have been puzzled by the contents of Revelation 20.  Consider these issues:

  1. Many Christians believe that a person goes immediately to Heaven or hell at death.[1] What is God’s purpose for resurrecting the righteous dead at the Second Coming[2] if they already exist in Heaven?  Even more, why would God resurrect the wicked a thousand years later if they are already burning in hell?
  2. Other people have wondered why God would even want to resurrect the wicked at the end of the 1,000 years. Why not leave the wicked to rot in their graves and move on with the creation of a new Heaven and a new Earth?
  3. Some Christians are frustrated with Revelation 20 because this chapter contradicts the idea that a New Testament God would punish people with hell fire, and annihilate people that He loves.

These three issues can be resolved.  Many people have not taken the time to examine and absorb all that the Bible has to say about various aspects of God’s ways and plans so they often reach a conclusion based on an inadequate number of data samples.  For example, if a person’s view of God is limited to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, his view of God will be incomplete.  If a person thinks the God of the Old Testament is unlike the God of the New Testament, his conclusions about God are incorrect because the God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament and He is changeless.[3]  Consider this:

The God who created Adam and Eve and put them in the Garden of Eden is the same God who drove them out of the Garden of Eden.  In fact, consider these events recorded in Bible history.  He is:

  • the God who caused the whole world to drown in Noah’s day
  • the God who burned up Sodom and Gomorrah
  • the God who killed the first born, both man and beast in every Egyptian family, and drowned Pharaoh’s army
  • the God who destroyed the wicked city of Jericho
  • the God who sent Nebuchadnezzar to utterly destroy Jerusalem in 586 B.C
  • the God who sent the Romans to utterly destroy Jerusalem in A.D. 70
  • the God who will kill 25% of Earth’s population during the first four trumpets
  • the God who will destroy all of the wicked at the Second Coming
  • the God who will burn the Earth with fire at the end of the 1,000 years
  • the God who will create a new Earth and hand it over to His children!

God has given mankind sixty-six books (the Bible) to study.  When properly aligned, these books describe God’s actions over a period of approximately 7,000 years.  Because God is eternal, a thousand years might go by before He decides to do something new or unusual.  A thousand years contains many human generations, so it may appear that God has changed from one generation to another.  For example, Noah’s flood occurred approximately 1,656 years after Creation week.  Noah’s flood was not out of character for a God of love.  God did not suddenly change in Noah’s generation.  God is so huge in terms of timing that large samples of time are required to properly understand Him and His actions.  The Bible declares that God is love.[4]  This means that God defines and demonstrates what love is and is not.  If we are willing to examine all that the Bible has to reveal about God over a large span of time, many questions will disappear because there is One Constant in this dynamic universe.  He is the Creator of the Universe, Almighty God.[5]

The Big Picture

Please consider the following questions for a moment.  Why has God told us in advance about the 1,000 years that will occur afterthe Second Coming?  Why has God told us in advance about the resurrection of the wicked and their annihilation at the end of the 1,000 years?  Why has God told us in advance about the great white throne and the judgment process that goes with it?  Why has God told us in advance about the destruction of the wicked by fire at the end of the 1,000 years?  Why has God told us in advance about the creation of a new Heaven and a new Earth?  Why has God told us in advance about the devil leading the wicked against New Jerusalem?

The simple answer to all these questions is that God has given us this information so we can understand His plans. He wants us to know where the drama with sin is going.  God wants His children to align Bible history with Bible prophecy so that we can see and understand His love for us.” Understanding principles of divine love is not as simple as you might think!  (Ask a child if he understands the principles involved when his parent’s discipline him.)  God’s love is larger and more inclusive than we can fathom and this makes God’s behavior seem mysterious at times.  God’s love for oncoming generations is no less than His love for the current generation.  This simple fact explains, in part, why He destroyed the world in Noah’s day.  He destroyed the world to protect oncoming generations from the decadence and degeneracy of the previous generations.  God’s actions are always consistent with principles of love, therefore, consider the following statements:

  1. According to infinite wisdom and unfailing love for mankind, long ago God predetermined that the saints would judge the wicked during the 1,000 years. The golden rule is a fundamental building block in the law of love.  The golden rule demonstrates a perfect balance between mercy and justice.  “Extend mercy and kindness to others as you would have them extend mercy and kindness to you because God will ensure that every kindness and injustice is fully repaid.”[6]  God knows that no one is better suited to determine how much suffering occurred during the commission of a crime than the victim.  Therefore, at the appointed time, God will allow the redeemed to determine (to judge) the amount of suffering which predators must suffer by fire.[7]  Love functions in a perfect balance and God loves mercy and justice equally.  With God, there is no statute of limitations and this is one reason why the wicked must be resurrected at the end of the 1,000 years.  God cannot conclude the drama of sin without justice being served.  Bruise for bruise, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, and life for life.
  2. According to infinite wisdom and love for all mankind, the Father predetermined that Jesus should speak to all of the wicked at the same time at the end of the 1,000 years. Therefore, all of the wicked will be resurrected at the end of sin’s drama.  First, they will see the glory of the city, New Jerusalem, whose builder and maker is God, filled with an innumerable multitude of saints.  The wicked will also observe the brilliant white throne of Jesus Christ, the Creator and Honorable Judge of all mankind.  He will meet face to face with each wicked person and show them a complete record of their lives; as recorded by angels.[8]  Jesus will explain to each wicked person why he could not be saved and why he is not allowed to enter the New Jerusalem.  The Father predetermined that each wicked person must understand that Jesus was righteous and more than fair in His judgment.  This meeting with Jesus will silence every argument that God is or has been unfair.[9]  Of course, God could easily ignore His enemies by leaving them in their graves, but this is not the way of love.  God will confront the enemies of love so that rebellion and selfishness can be fully exposed.
  3. According to infinite wisdom and love, the Father predetermined that each saint should see for himself why wicked people could not be saved. Therefore, God will give the saints 1,000 years to examine the record of any wicked person they wish to investigate.  This is extremely important because God does not want one saint to question His judgment throughout eternity.  For example, suppose you are taken to Heaven, but a loved one is not there.  You begin to wonder why your loved one could not be saved, so you examine the record of their life.  This openness will silence and resolve any notion that Jesus judged unfairly; all this occurs before a single person is destroyed in the fire.
  4. According to infinite wisdom and love, the Father predetermined that fire is the best tool to accomplish two purposes at the end of the 1,000 years. First, fire produces suffering and it will be used to extract the suffering which predators must repay.  The suffering of the wicked will not cease until justice is satisfied.  Once justice is achieved, each wicked person will die the second death (a death from which there is no recovery).  Second, fire is useful in that it sterilizes as it purifies.  After Jesus has destroyed Lucifer and his angels, the wicked who rebelled against the laws of love, and the curse of sin itself (death and the grave), Jesus will reuse this sterilized orb called Earth as the foundation for a new Earth.
  5. According to infinite wisdom and unfailing love for new worlds that will be created millions of years later, the Father wants to prove a point at the end of sin’s drama that is very important. The Father wants everyone to see what He foreknew before the creation of life.  Therefore, He will break the seventh seal and display the contents of The Book of Life at the end of the 1,000 years.  The universe will see that The Book of Life is a perfect mirror of the record books which angels recorded in real time.  This amazing revelation will prove two points.  First, the Father has perfect foreknowledge.  He knows the end from the beginning.  Before any life was created, He foreknew who would choose salvation and who would not, both in Heaven and on Earth, and He wrote it down.  Second, God can be trusted to separate His foreknowledge from His love.  In other words, the Father will not use His perfect foreknowledge to protect the Godhead from harm and He will not manipulate the choices of His children to satisfy His objectives.  He will prove to the universe that He will not violate the will of His children even though He foreknows the outcome.  God can be trusted completely!  His commitment to the principles of love prevents Him from using His foreknowledge to manipulate His subjects.
  6. According to infinite wisdom and love, God predetermined that Lucifer and his demons should remain alive until the end of the 1,000 years. By allowing them to live, the fruits of sin will be allowed to mature.   Eventually, God will address each argument that Lucifer used to lead one-third of the angels into rebellion.  (Remember, the drama with sin is far more encompassing than events on Earth.)  The demons that followed Lucifer will clearly see that Lucifer lied to them.  Even when they were confronted with the truth, they willfully chose to believe Lucifer’s lies rather than surrender to God’s authority and truth.  Going forward through eternity, it will be necessary and important to review this confrontation so that sin’s ugly pall never rises again.  Pure, sinless, holy beings can fall and have fallen twice because rebellion falsely promised short term gains.  Submission to God’s infinite wisdom is not always easy for intelligent beings, but finite beings must remember who is infinite and who is not.

When these six issues are considered, we find that God wants His people to understand His love, plans, and actions.  There is no hint of evil in God.  To know God is to love God.  He has generously provided a thousand answers about Himself and His plans if we are willing to search for them.

 

 

 

 

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