What could happen after the Rapture (Part 2)
After completely destroying the United States, the antichrist will proceed with his ultimate plan. He will at this time, march into the temple and declare himself to be God. Of course, this announcement does not go over well in Jerusalem. Apparently, in a surprise twist of events, someone assassinates the antichrist. I'm sure this will send shock waves around the world. What happens next is described in Revelation 13:2-4.
"And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?"
As shocking as his assassination will be, somehow he will rise again. Just as Christ died and rose again, so the antichrist will duplicate this same feat. How he is healed or by what power is not apparent. We can only guess that satan is behind this false resurrection and God has allowed it to happen. This will complete the unholy death and resurrection of the antichrist.
Consequently, those evil ones imitate the divine trinity of God. The dragon corresponds to the Father; the antichrist corresponds to the Son; and the false prophet corresponds to the Holy Spirit. As God the Father gives all His power to Jesus, and the Holy Spirit does honor to Jesus, so the dragon gives all his power to the antichrist, and the false prophet does honor to the antichrist.
The world will be in awe of him. For he was dead and now has come back to life. He will declare himself to be God and command that all the world worship him and freely they will. With the false prophet at his side and satan indwelling him, the world will see him as messiah. For they will say, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" He will literally trick the world into worshipping him.
Immediately, the antichrist will break his treaty with the Jews and order a mass execution. Although many will die, God will intervene and protect his people providing a hiding place that they may find refuge for the remaining 3 ½ years.
And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. (Revelation 13:11-17)
Upon setting up his throne, the antichrist will look to heaven and openly blaspheme God and the inhabitants of heaven. God will allow this to happen because He knows his (antichrist) doom is near.
To promote the worship of the antichrist, the false prophet will perform many great signs and wonders, even cause fire to come down from heaven. But his greatest feat is yet to come. He will command that an image or likeness of the antichrist be created. To the astonishment of all mankind, he will cause it to come alive and speak. The image will command that all must worship the antichrist or be put to death. And he will cause every man, woman and, child, rich and poor, to take a mark either on the forehead or right hand. "Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: For it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred threescore and six." (Revelation 13:18)
The sixth seal is now opened. We are now about three and a half to four years into the tribulation period. The unholy trinity has now succeeded in deceiving the world into worshipping them unhindered as God. They may think they are in control but God still pulls all the strings. It is at this time that God will show His awesome power. I believe this seal will begin the most dreadful time in the history of mankind known as "The Great Day Of The Lord".
And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? (Revelation 6:12-17)
Right in the middle of the Satan's apparent victory, the Lord opens the sixth seal. The purpose of this seal will be to strike terror into the heart of those on earth.
Immediately, a great earthquake erupts. The earthquake is so devastating that it is felt worldwide. Every mountain and island will be moved. At the same time, I believe volcanoes from all over the world will explode, spewing volcanic ash miles into the air. The sun will turn black and the moon red. The stars of heaven will fall to the earth. Men both rich and poor, free and slave, will hide themselves for fear of the Lord.
Judging from the scriptures, the world apparently will view this great destruction as coming from the Lord. No one will mistake this devastation as a simple natural disaster. But even in fear, the hardness of their hearts will not allow them to repent. In fact, they would rather die.
Following this catastrophe, three angels are sent throughout the world to proclaim the Gospel and to warn the world not to take the mark of the beast or to worship his image. They will be visible to everyone and will strike fear into many.
Imagine if you will, the greatest earthquake mankind has ever known has just occurred. The earth is still exploding from the aftermath of erupting volcanoes. Smoky darkness covers the earth like a blazing inferno.
Not knowing what awaited me, I emerged from the deep dark hiding place that has saved my life. Peering through the heavily blackened air, it becomes apparent that what used to be a sprawling city landscape, has now been reduced to rubble. I fear that few, if any, have survived.
Walking through the remains of the city, searching for signs of life, any life, I began to hear a distant, but faint voice. At last, someone has survived! I'm not alone! Excitedly, I began running toward the voice anxiously searching for their location. Along the way signs of death are everywhere. As I came closer and closer, the voice became clearer and clearer. Finally, I located the voice and it's desperate cry for help. It sounds like a man's voice. Peering through the rubble, I looked frantically where this person may possibly be. Buried under one hundred tons of rock, steel and debris, I desperately attempted to free him. But after hours of digging, I realized the hopelessness of the situation. As the hours pass, his voice faded into obscurity. That night I would hear many faint voices trapped deep beneath their rocky graves. Helpless to their situation, I knew that there was little hope that any would survive.
The next morning, the reality of what had happened was becoming apparent. The sun was out but barely visible through the black smoky sky. Other survivors were now beginning to surface searching for family and friends.
As we gathered, something strange happened. A group of beings that looked like men appeared flying in the sky. It was unlike anything we had ever seen. They hovered just above the city and began proclaiming a message they said was from God. As we listened, this is what they said:
"... Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: And worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, if any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: And they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name." (Revelation 14:7, 9-11)
Needless to say, this struck fear into the hearts of everyone present. On the one hand, if we don't take the mark, we'll be put to death. On the other hand, if we take the mark, we face the eternal wrath of God.
Suddenly, as quickly as they appeared they were gone, leaving us to ponder what our fate would be. For in that day there will be no easy decisions nor altars of compassion. But one thing was made clear, from that point on we knew that life would never be the same.
"And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour." (Revelation 8:1)
After the massive worldwide earthquake, God calls for silence for about half an hour. The purpose of this silence will be to see what the reaction of man will be, whether a call for repentance or continued rebellion. While Revelation 6:16, 17 declares that most men will consider God to be responsible for this devastating earthquake, there is no record of repentance. Some describe it as the calm before the storm. I believe this was the last chance of man to obtain mercy. For at the end of the silence, come the remaining judgments. These judgments will be so devastating and so horrible that Jesus said, "And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: But for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened." (Matthew 24:22)
The judgments will be in order and consecutive, one right after the other. First will be the seven trumpet judgments, followed by the seven bowl judgments. Is it any wonder that God paused before He unleashed these final judgments, for His mercy is everlasting and without end.
The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up. (Revelation 8:7)
I estimate that we are now about four years into the tribulation period. The first trumpet judgment sounds. Some Bible scholars believe that this represents an all out nuclear war in which God will leave man to destroy himself. I do not agree! The destruction is much too precise. This trumpet judgment will come directly from God. I believe that God will literally bring about a worldwide hailstorm. This hailstorm will be unlike any that man has encountered. These will be hailstones of fire and will bombard the earth unmercifully destroying one third of the trees and cover the ground like freshly fallen snow burning up all the grass.
The loss of the green grass will cause a mammoth food shortage and many animals and livestock (not to mention people) will die of starvation. Trees act as a giant air filter for the world, continuously cleaning and re-cleaning the air. With one third less trees the air will barely be consumable.
And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; and the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed. (Revelation 8:8, 9)
The second trumpet judgment sounds. Notice again the preciseness of this judgment. A giant fiery mountain crashes into the sea. From this, one third of the sea becomes blood, causing one third of the sea life to die, and one third of the ships were destroyed. It is possible that war could breakout drawing many military vessels to the proposed area, where one third of the ships and sea life could perish. But I think it is more likely that this judgment will come directly from the hand of God. Like the first trumpet, it will serve notice that though man has turned to the antichrist, he is helpless to save them from the wrath to come.
It's not clear what this burning mountain is, but I believe John is describing an asteroid. Not just any asteroid, but one that is so enormous, that upon impact, it will melt, destroy and disintegrate anything in its path.
Imagine if you will a giant fireball the size of a country crashing into the ocean at a speed of 35,000 miles per hour. Forget about the heat and the death of the sea creatures, the tidal wave that this impact will cause will be of epic proportions. The way I see it, any ships that are not immediately disintegrated from the intense heat will be destroyed by the giant tidal waves that follow. Needless to say, many people will die.
And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; and the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter. (Revelation 8:10, 11)
The third trumpet judgment sounds. God continues to systematically destroy the available natural resources so critical to man's existence. As He destroyed one third of the oceans and its creatures, now He will destroy one third of the rivers and springs. This will be a fatal blow considering one third of the available drinking water will be contaminated. Although the death toll is unknown, the Bible states that many men will die from drinking this water.
And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise. And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound! (Rev 8:12, 13)
The fourth trumpet judgment sounds. At this point, God now strikes the three natural sources of light by one third. Again, some scholars incorrectly try to link this with a nuclear holocaust. If this were caused by nuclear war, the dark skies would continue around the clock like a black haze. God, who is in precise control, simply turns out the lights so that a day is shortened by one third. I believe, that from this day forward, a day will only be sixteen hours long. This would be consistent with what Jesus stated in Matthew 24:22, "And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened." Who are the elect? They are the 144,000 Jewish witnesses and those who have not been martyred by the antichrist.
Immediately, John looked up and saw an angel flying through heaven announcing that there are still three trumpets to be sounded. As horrible as the first four trumpets were, these last three will be even worse. These are so bad that the warnings are emphasized with three "woes".
And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven
unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. And he
opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke
of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the
smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and
unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.
And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months. And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon. (Revelation 9:1-11)
The fifth trumpet, first woe sounds. At this time, we are about five to five and a half years into the tribulation period. This trumpet judgment begins a torment that one can only attempt to imagine. These creatures are literal beings that will be released for this specific time of tribulation. They are released by an angel. Some believe this angel to be Christ because He alone has the keys to death and hell (Revelation 1:18). Others believe it is Satan. Whoever this person is, he is given the authority to unlock the earthly opening into the pits of hell. Immediately, this unleashes the most horrible creatures ever created by God and they are eager to engage in their mission. Their assignment is simple; do not harm the trees and vegetation nor kill any man, but torment those who do not have the seal of God. For five months they will roam the earth seeking whom they might torment. The worst part about this situation, they won't be able to be destroyed. With all the hi-tech smart weaponry available today nothing will stand in their way.
The following scenario will give you a closer look into a nightmare I hope and pray you will not have to face.
Making my way through what used to be a thickly wooded forest, were the remains of the devastation left behind by the fiery hailstorm. At a glance, it appeared to resemble the ravishes of a wildfire, feeding on anything and everything in its path.
As I cautiously proceeded down the ever-deepening dark path, I couldn't help but wonder what might await me. With every passing day the world seems to be plunging deeper and deeper into a dark age unimaginable by mankind. Surely these are dangerous times and particularly dangerous to those who journey alone. Looking at my watch, I noticed it was 2 o'clock in the afternoon and the sun was already beginning to set. I knew that I must find shelter soon or risk falling prey to wild animals.
Suddenly, I could hear a distant tremble beneath me. As I stood there perplexed, I listened, as the thundering noise seemed to draw nearer. As it drew closer and closer, the earth began to shake violently. Thinking it was the beginning of another earthquake, I dove behind a nearby fallen tree. Securely behind the great oak, I braced myself for the worst. As the rumbling drew closer and closer, it became evident that this was not an earthquake. It sounds more like a stampede and it's heading my way.
As I peered out from behind my hiding place, I couldn't believe my eyes. Thousands, maybe millions of giant horse-like creatures were flying through the air. It looked like something straight out of hell! It was unlike anything I'd ever seen. Curious to see what these creatures were, I positioned myself to get a better look. As I looked on, this is what I saw. As strange as it may sound, they looked to have the face of a man with long flowing hair and a horse-like body with giant protruding wings resembling that of a bat. At the other end appeared to be what looked like a tail, but this was no ordinary tail. It coiled and uncoiled like a scorpions tail as if it were waiting to strike. Their overall appearance was ferocious like some wild beast and moved with stealth like precision.
Terrified that I might be noticed, I quickly moved back as they passed overhead. But it's to late! One of these devilish creatures has turned around and looks to be soaring my way. Thinking that my only chance was to flee, I began to run with all my might toward a nearby patch of trees. "If I can only make it into the forest I'll be safe," I thought as I darted toward the safe haven. Nearing the forest, I could hear the sound of the creature's rustling wings from a distance. In a state of panic, my mind began to race a mile a minute like a prey that has strayed from the pack...only thirty more feet...only twenty more feet. My heart was pounding with every step as I grasped for what little hope remained. "I can make it, I can make it, I can make it!" But with one giant swoop, the creature overtook me and knocked me to the ground. As I tumbled and rolled several times, I knew the end was near. Lying there on the ground, I wondered would he eat me or just kill me? Would my death be quick and painless or agonizingly slow? I felt like a rabbit that had just been captured by a mighty bird of prey. As he stood over me, I could smell the stench of his breath. Lying there, with my face to the ground, I turned to face this demon from hell. Looking up into his fiery eyes, I braced for the worst. As he stared intently down at me, with his scorpion-like tail poised to strike, he raised his head back and let out a great roar revealing his razor sharp teeth. Fearing the end was near, I shielded may face with my hands and let out my final scream! But suddenly, to my amazement, he reared his front feet up, turned and flew away.
As I slowly stood to my feet, I could feel myself shaking uncontrollably from what had just happened. As I watched the great beast fly away, I couldn't help but wonder why my life was spared.
But as the days went on, I would hear of many who would not be as fortunate. As the months went by, I would learn of the terror and pain that would be inflicted by these horrific creatures that have but one mission and purpose, to torment those of the earth who have not the seal of God. For in their tails lie the sting of a scorpion and the power to hurt men for five months. So awful will this torment be that men will seek to die, but God will not allow death to come.
And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them. And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt. (Revelation 9:13-19)
The sixth trumpet, second woe sounds. At this time, we are about five and a half to six years into the tribulation period. I would estimate that up to this point close to three billion people have died. With the blast of the sixth trumpet will come the death of another one billion people or one-third of the remaining world population. For God will call for the release of the four demonic angels, who have been prepared for this very moment, to sweep from the East to the West. The size of this army will number 200 million. No one will be able to stop their military advancement. This will begin 13 months of death and destruction that will eventually climax at the Battle of Armageddon.
Who are these demonic leaders? Are they literal or symbolic demons! I believe that these demons are literal military leaders, most assuredly alive today, who will form an alliance with each other, and begin a march toward the Middle East, overthrowing governments and peoples as they go. It's likely that China will be the driving force behind this military action. They are the only country in the world that could boast a standing army of this magnitude. Although, I do see Korea (North and South Korea will undoubtedly be unified at this time), Japan, and one other country included in this powerful coalition.
But why would China do such a thing? This is what I think will be at least in part their motivation. What many do not know regarding the Chinese population is that the communist government many years ago set up strict population control laws to slow the growth of an out of control baby boom. Each family was granted the right to have one child and only one. If a woman were caught pregnant for a second time they would have to have an abortion. Since only one child per family was permitted, it was preferable that it be a boy baby. This would insure that the family name would live on. Many Chinese mothers were having multiple abortions before that baby boy would be born. Unfortunately, another problem will arise in the near future that the Chinese government did not foresee or just didn't care. This generation will find itself with an extraordinary population imbalance of men to women. There will be hundreds of millions of available men with absolutely no possible way of carrying on the family name due to no available women. Unless the government does something fast the Chinese population could literally be cut off and die. I believe that one reason for their conquering march across the East will be in part due to the need for available women to carry on the Chinese heritage.
At the end of their march, they will make a coalition with the antichrist. Together the armies of the antichrist and the armies of the East will meet in the Valley of Har-Magedon for the greatest battle ever fought. They will be destroyed when Jesus comes back to rule and reign upon the earth.
And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles. And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled. And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels,(Seventh Trumpet) Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth. (Revelation 15:5-16:1)
This time, all seven angels are given their bowl judgments and are immediately instructed to go and pour it out onto the earth. Most believe that they will be poured out one right after the other without delay. But it is possible that they could also be poured out at the same time. It will be like a fireworks grand finale. The time of the release will probably come about six to six and a half years into the tribulation period or just before the Lord's return.
At this time, the worship of the antichrist will be in full swing and God will show the world how powerless their god is. It should be noted that some of these judgments will be specifically limited to those who have taken the mark of the beast and have worshiped his image.
And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image. (Revelation 16:2)
The first bowl judgment was cast out onto the earth, and great and repulsive smelling boils broke out on everyone who had taken the mark and worshiped his image. These boils will not only be big and smelly, they will be very painful. They might even be cancerous.
And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: And every living soul died in the sea. (Revelation 16:3)
The second angel poured out his bowl upon the sea and it turned to blood killing every creature. I believe that every living creature in all the oceans will die.
And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood. (Revelation 16:4)
The third angel pours out his bowl on the rivers and springs and they to are turned to blood. Now all the drinking water is completely polluted and every living creature therein died. Systematically, God is eliminating what is left of the available natural resources. Without drinking water it will only be a matter of time before millions of people will simply die due dehydration.
Later the angel of the waters proclaims that the Lord's judgments are righteous and true. For they have shed the blood of the saints and of the prophets and now they are repaid with blood to drink.
And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory. (Revelation 16:8-9)
Imagine that all the known resources of drinking water have been polluted rendering them unfit for human consumption. Next, the Lord sends a great heat so severe that it scorches everyone that is exposed to its rays. Some believe that the heat will be so intense that it will cause the great ice caps of Antarctica and surrounding areas to melt resulting in major flooding worldwide. I would assume that the lack of suitable drinking water compounded by great heat would accelerate the death toll.
At this time, it is my firm belief that man has completely turned its back on God, and is totally devoted to the beast that has blinded them. Despite the severity of the plague, they would not repent of their sins.
And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, and blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds. (Revelation 16:10-11)
The fifth angel pours out his bowl and a great darkness covers the kingdom of the antichrist, including his ten-nation kingdom. It is also stated that they gnawed their tongues because of the pain. It's not apparent what part of this fifth bowl judgment has caused this pain, but it very well could have been from the previous plagues. Although, it is more likely that God has intensified their sores from the first bowl judgment. Either way their pain was very severe. Refusing to repent, they blasphemed God.
And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. (Revelation 16:12-16)
This, of course, will be the gathering of all the great nations of the earth for the final battle. God will cause the Euphrates River to be dried up to expedite this operation. The unholy trinity will deceive the nations into joining in league with them to destroy everything that is precious to God. This is an anti-God movement of the ungodly nations.
Midway through the passage of scripture, Jesus declares that He will come. He is encouraging those who have resisted the unholy trinity and have served God to keep holding on, for it won't be long until He comes to destroy His enemies and to setup His kingdom.
The final battle between Satan and God will climax at the Valley of Megiddo, but better known as Armageddon. This really should not be considered a war or battle because it will strictly be one sided, as we will see in the next section.
"And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army." (Revelation 19:11-19)
At the end of the tribulation period the Lord will gather the nations of the earth together for His final triumph. The Lord's army will be comprised of the New Testament Saints. The human army will embody those who have pledged their allegiance to the beast and have taken his mark. Both rich and poor, bond and free, great and small will participate in this battle, but as stated in the previous update, it will not last long. In fact, it is described as a great winepress in which Christ literally crushes His foes, and their blood will flow approximately four feet high and two hundred miles long. God will call the birds of the air to come and gorge themselves of the flesh of men.
This is the scenario I see for this crushing defeat.
Looking over the vast wasteland, I could feel another miserable day dawning. Most of the food was gone, and what little water remained, for the most part, nomad gangs have stolen. Not even the unified forces are able to provide protection. Fortunately, I found a gun on a soldier left for dead during the last raid.
Every morning I carefully scour the area for food. Scavenging off the dead has become a matter of survival; even cannibalism is commonplace. Although, I must be cautious in my search, for not every dead body is dead.
Suddenly, peering out across the plain, looked to be a man's leg sticking out from behind a large rock. There was no movement, and strangely enough, he looked to be clothed. Usually the demise of one meant the profit of another, and if I was to be the one to profit, I knew I had to act fast; he may have food on him.
As I maneuvered toward the victim, I realized that this could be a trap, but I could see no present signs of danger. Clutching to my makeshift spear, I slowly crept toward the body. I kept thinking, this was too obvious, why hadn't anyone discovered it before me? This had to be a trap! With every step my heart began to pound faster and faster. My mind began to race as beads of sweat began pouring from my brow. I kept thinking, "What am I doing, I could be killed!" But I was too hungry to turn back now. So with one last desperate yell, I charged the rock like a raving maniac, only to find all that was left was the remains of a man's leg. Breathing a sigh of relief, I knelt down to further examine the situation. I figured he must have wandered into one of the minefields peppered throughout the area.
Looking down at what used to be another living breathing soul I could feel a tear welling up inside. For the first time in many years I felt emotion for someone else. Who was he? Did he have family? As I stood staring, I remembered a time when I lived free, not fearing what a day may bring, having a loving wife and a new baby girl.
But collecting myself, I knew that these emotions would only serve to get me killed. Over the years I have learned that there is no room for remorse, mercy, or pity. It's kill or be killed, period! Survival can hinge upon a mere scrap of information.
In this day and age I have seen many die, some by their own hand, more then a few by mine. It is during these times I question why I go on, but at the same time knowing I can't give up.
Because I have not taken the mark I must be cautious at all times, for I am a hunted man. Constantly, I must watch my back, trusting no one, and above all, keep moving. As the years have passed the bounty has steadily increased, but for some reason it has taken a significant jump in resent months. Bounty hunters are everywhere. I know it's only a matter of time before they hunt me down, find me, and kill me.
Coming to my senses, I knew I had to get back to my shelter before I was discovered. Grabbing the boot, I quickly maneuvered back to my hideout.
Suddenly from a distance, I heard the rumble of what seemed to be a great host of people heading toward me. Scrambling for my binoculars, I peered to see who and what they were.
As they drew closer, it appeared that a great army was approaching. But why were they out here? The village was pretty much destroyed from the last raid. Gathering what little belongings I had, I quickly ducked out of sight.
As I watched them pass, I noticed that this army was made up of different uniforms. I'd seen the unified army before, but this army looked different. As I came out of my hiding place, it was obvious that I was of little interest to them. They seemed to have but one destination and purpose. It was apparent that this was no ordinary military operation.
As it got a little darker, I decided to blend into the ranks and see where all this would lead. After all, I figured, what better way to travel than with an army?
But this was no ordinary march, we walked that whole night and into the early morning with no rest. I was tempted several times to ease back and fall out of line, but I was determined to see this march through.
Finally, the commanding officer gave orders to stop and break camp. As the day grew, many others joined us in that valley. By the end of the day, this mammoth army had swelled to literally millions of soldiers. As air support flew overhead, I realized that I was in the middle of a major conflict. But who was the target? I'd gone this far I had to know what this was all about.
Looking around, a nearby military squadron looked to be receiving its orders and going over the target. Careful not to be seen, I began to listen as the commander instructed his men on the target, their strategy, and the strike time. To my amazement, the target was Israel and the strike time, tomorrow morning. As I sat there and listened, it became clear what their mission was. I couldn't believe what I was hearing! Could this be the battle of battles, the war to end all wars...the Battle of Armageddon? I had heard the stories of this great battle from when I was a youth, but never figured it to be true, let alone see it firsthand.
That night, my worst fears were confirmed. We were in fact in the Valley of Har-Magedon where the Battle of Armageddon would take place. According to Bible prophecy everyone who participates in this war will die by the hand of Jesus as He returns to rule and reign upon the earth. I knew I was in great danger, and if I was to escape, I had to act fast.
As I surveyed the area, I noticed that a supply caravan was about to leave camp. I knew it was now or never, so when the driver turned to sign for the supplies, I jumped into the back of the truck. About two miles outside of camp, the driver had to stop and remove a tree limb from the road. At that time, I jumped from the truck and hid in the bushes until he got back into the truck and drove off. I had made it to freedom, but I still wanted to see if Jesus really would appear with His mighty host.
So I camped out at the top outer edge of the valley and waited to see if He would really come. I was very excited, but very tired from all the marching the day before. I could barely hold my eyes open. Finally, I drifted off into a deep sleep.
Suddenly, sometime in the night, a very bright light woke me up. It was so bright it turned the night into day. Scared and terrified, I began to run for cover. Safely behind an embankment, I looked to see what this bright light could be. As I watched, I could see a lot of activity going on down in the valley, soldiers scrambling to their battle stations and artillery being positioned.
Suddenly, a hail of great firepower was sent toward the great light. They seemed to have made a direct hit, but the great light just kept coming. Overhead, I could see the stealth fighters and other air support maneuvering for a strike. Streams of rocket fire were everywhere. I could see direct hit after direct hit, but nothing could stop its advancement. As it came closer and closer, the intensity of the air and ground attack increased, but to no avail. As it came to the outer edge of the valley, ground and air artillery fire was non-stop but there was no stopping this great force. When I peered through my binoculars for a closer look, I could hardly believe my eyes. It looked like a majestic flying army that was innumerable, and the one who was leading it looked like the Son of God. Jesus, the only hope that this world could have, really did return! I had heard all the stories but now it was really happening. The end of all earthly pain and suffering was about to end. I thought this day would never come.
Suddenly, what looked like great bursts of lightening came forth from every part of the great light destroying both air support and artillery below. It was a sensational display of firepower. Within a matter of minutes every air and ground weapon was destroyed. This once great army was now totally at the mercy of God.
As the forces of God hovered over the forces of this world, I could sense that their punishment would be swift and complete. Hearing the cry of the men below as they helplessly awaited their doom, with one great downward plunge, the army of God covered them like an enormous blanket. Suddenly, there was silence, and their screams were heard no more. It was as though they had literally crushed them to death. In a matter of minutes, millions of soldiers were reduced to a sea of blood.
As I watched in awe of what had happened, I knew that there would be greater days ahead and that I had no more reason to fear. For Jesus has come to rule and reign, and to fill the land with His peace.
"For thus saith the LORD of hosts; yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: And I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: And in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts." (Haggai 2:6-9)
And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. (Revelation 19:20-20:3)
After the miraculous and stunning defeat at Armageddon, the antichrist and the false prophet will be hunted down and cast into the lake of fire where they will be tormented forever and ever. Satan will then be captured and bound, unable to tempt man, for one thousand years. After the thousand years are up, he will again be released and will deceive many.
The first thing Jesus will do is judge Israel. Although Israel is the center of attention in the Millennium, they will first have to be judged and separated. Those who were faithful to the Lord will make up the remnant and will be allowed to enter into the Millennium. Those who were not will be turned away and executed.
Following the judgment of Israel will be the judgment of the nations. This judgment is spoken of in Matthew 25:31-46.
When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: And he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? Or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
All resurrected and raptured saints will be a part of this judgment in some capacity. It's not clear what part we will play but I Corinthians 6:2a states "Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world".
The criteria of this judgment will be singular. Those nations who befriended Israel during the tribulation period will be allowed to enter into the Millennium age. Those who are found to have turned their back or were enemies of Israel will be destroyed. If we go by who are Israel's friends today to determine which nations would go into the Millennium the list would be very short. But it should be noted that the word "nations" should not be taken as whole countries, but individuals. Just as there were people during the holocaust that hid the Jews at the risk of losing their own life, there will be those who will hide them during the tribulation period. They will be judged on an individual basis, and if faithful, will be granted entrance into the Millennium age.
It's not clear as to how many people will still be alive at this time who have taken the mark, but I'm sure there will be more than a few. Their fate will be quick. They will be brought before the Lord and immediately executed.
With these two vital criteria in mind, it's clear that just enduring the seven-year tribulation period and refusing the mark does not ensure that a person will enter into the Millennium age. But I can't imagine someone refusing to take the mark, especially with the threat of death hanging over their head, just because they were anti-establishment. Nevertheless, apparently there will be those who will not take the mark but will be shut out of the Millennium because they were not faithful to God or proved to not be a friend of Israel.
As you know, I believe that when Jesus does rapture the church many church members will be left behind. It is my belief, if you have had the opportunity to know Jesus as Lord and Savior, and do not accept Him in true repentance, you will go through the tribulation period.
I also believe, as stated in earlier writings, that those who have had the opportunity of salvation before the rapture, will no longer be granted this opportunity of salvation during the tribulation period. I have been asked by many, "If someone has heard the Gospel but has rejected it, will he/she be able to be saved during the tribulation period?" By all indications, according to the scriptures, God will send strong delusions that they will believe a lie, and be damned (II Thes. 2:3-12), because they loved unrighteousness more than the truth.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of church members who profess Christ but have one foot in the world and one foot in the church. Well this person was practicing this lifestyle. He started out blasting me for warning people that they were taking an awful chance when they practice running to Jesus and then into the world, then running back to Jesus and then back out into the world. He then went on to tell how he had done this several times and Jesus was always there to welcome him back with open arms.
This person is literally playing with fire. I didn't say he wasn't saved, only God knows that, but his lifestyle is contrary to that of a true believer in this writer's opinion. The following verse's explain the difference between a professor (one who says he is a Christian) and a possessor (one who practices Christ in his everyday walk).
"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it." Matthew 7:21-27
Professing Christ does not automatically grant you salvation. Even the outward verbal acknowledgment of His Lordship is in itself not enough to save the unbeliever a part from true repentance and faith. A genuinely saved person is one that does the will of the Father, the Greek present tense meaning that he is continually living in obedience to the will of God as the normal course of his life. He may fail at times, but his general course of consistency is to obey the will of God.
It is tragic to note that in that day many will profess him as Lord and yet will be lost. On what do they base their profession? Their many wonderful works cause them to think that they have attained salvation and yet the response of Christ, pictured here as the Judge, will be I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
In drawing His concluding illustration of the two foundations, Jesus begins with the word "Therefore". On the basis of all that He has taught and illustrated, He concluded that all who both hear and do His sayings shall be saved. He is not adding works to faith, but, as James reminds us, He is showing faith by its works, faith is the root of salvation and works are its fruit. The works of man do not produce his own salvation. In fact, to the contrary this entire message shows that man's human efforts alone are vain in gaining his salvation. Having made His point, Jesus also clearly stated that while salvation is by faith, it is by a faith which shows itself in a changed life.
Are you a professor or a possessor? Don't take a chance. The only way to know for sure is to ask Jesus into your heart, place Him first in your life, and never look back. Only Jesus can save you and present you spotless until that final day.
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: And I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: On such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4-6)
For six thousand years the curse of God has been upon this sin filled, God hating world. But God never intended for it to turn out this way. It was always His will that we have fellowship with Him and to have the best of everything.
The Second Coming of the Lord will mark the day when Jesus will rule and reign on earth for a millennium or one thousand years, bringing with Him true peace and harmony throughout the world. "For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body (Romans 8:22, 23)." Not only have we as saints been waiting for the coming of the Lord but all of creation as well. From the smallest insect to the largest mammal have longed for this day. Even the rocks and the mountains will sing and praise his name, for He is worthy.
The Bible describes this as a time of overwhelming abundance and blessing from God. It will be what God originally had planned for man. He will love the world and it will be His pleasure to bless them in all they do. Dr. John Walvoord describes in his book Prophecy that this will be a time of great spiritual revival and brokenness toward God.
Many facets of the millennial kingdom will improve upon the present age. A number of unique features will relate to the spiritual life as Christ's physical presence will be the visual revelation of God's glory. Scripture is clear that all the adults who enter the millennial kingdom will be saved, and the unsaved will be purged, whether they are Israelite or Gentile. Children will, of course, enter the millennium without judgment, and during the millennium many others will be born.
Because of Christ's presence, the earth will abound in knowledge of the Lord: "For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea" (Isaiah 11:9). At the beginning of the millennium every adult will not only be saved but indwelt by the Spirit of God. There is also evidence that many will be filled with the Spirit, perhaps more so than at any one time ever before (Isaiah 32:15; 44:3; Ezekiel 36:26; 37:14; 39:29; Joel 2:28-29).
The knowledge of the Lord will fill the land and signs of His goodness will overflow like the waters of the sea. The blessings of the Lord will literally overtake man and all that embrace His love will prosper both spiritually and materialistically.
But make no mistake, the Lord will rule with absolute power and strength and no one will oppose or challenge Him. He will rule with a rod of iron.
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: And his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron: And he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. (Revelation 19:11-16)
I think one thing needs to be understood, the Lord will force His will upon mankind, but it will be for our good and those on the earth will enjoy prosperity unprecedented in all of history. As horrible as the previous seven years were, they will be long forgotten when the Lord takes control.
The Lord will rule from Israel. Jerusalem will be the center of everything that happens in the world. All of Israel's enemies will be defeated and they will finally have the Messiah as King.
Isaiah 65:18-25 describes the Lord's work as He rebuilds Israel. It states:
But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: And the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed. And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: For as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them. And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: And dust shall be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.
What a wonderful description of this world when God destroys His enemies, purifies and rejuvenates the earth, cleanses the sky of pollution, and removes the curse from mankind. Even wild beast such as lions and wolves will change their nature and no longer prey upon the lamb and the bullock. In fact, it is generally believed that these once dangerous beasts will be harmless and may even be taken in as pets.
This will be a glorious kingdom, and yes, the saints of God will play a big part in it. The Bible speaks many times about the reign of Christ and those who will rule with Him. In I Corinthians 6:1-3, it says that the church will judge the world and angels. I'm not sure what our individual duties will be but we will have a place in the Lord's kingdom, some greater than others. This is apparent in many scriptures throughout the Bible, but never more clearer then in Luke 19:12-27.
In this passage, Jesus was sharing a parable with the multitude about the importance of faithfulness to God and how it would reflect their stature in His future kingdom. In the parable, He explains that there were three different servants who were given equal amounts of money by their master. They were instructed to go out and invest or do business with the money. After a certain amount of time had past, the master came and asked the three servants to give an account. The first servant presented his earnings, and had done well, for he had doubled his money. The second servant also presented his earnings, and he managed to increase his money by fifty percent. The last servant did nothing with his money and was found to be unfaithful. The first two servants, because of their faithfulness, were given ten and five cities respectively to rule over. The last servant, who did nothing with his money was reprimanded and his money taken from him. So shall it be in that great and marvelous day when Jesus comes to rule and reign. Those who have been faithful with the talents and gifts God has given them will be rewarded accordingly.
In that day, I believe many Christians will make it to heaven by the skin of their teeth, having spent their whole life placing themselves first instead the Lord. They will suffer loss and make it in "so as by fire" (I Corinthians 3:13-15).
If you think for one moment that heaven is a place of equal opportunity you have another thing coming. Even though you may feel that you just want to make it in, and that's all that matters, your thinking will change dramatically the minute you see Jesus. For in a moment, you will learn what your full potential as a Christian could have been and the reality of what it truly was. Many will be shocked to tears when they realize the lives that could have been changed and the impact they could have been on those around them if they only would have obeyed. This will be a tragic time for many Christians.
But for those who were faithful throughout their lives, they will be exalted before the Lord and rewarded with cities to reign over. Of course, they may not reach their potential either, but they will be rewarded for what they did do with the talents God gave them.
Yes, faithfulness and obedience will be key indicators as to how high you will rank in the Kingdom of God. For it is the Lord's will that we all achieve the standard set before us with the talents He has granted us. May you be found faithful in that glorious day of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Tribulation Saints Will Also Rule
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment (or authority to rule) was given unto them: And I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4)
This passage of scripture identifies a multitude of people who have resurrected bodies just like our Lord Jesus Christ. These real people were alive at the rapture when Christ took His Bride. They are identified in Revelation 7:9-17, as those who refused to take the mark of the beast and were slain for their witness of Christ. These are the martyred saints who were killed during the tribulation period and their number is said to be so great that no man could number them.
When Christ comes in the clouds of glory to rule and reign on earth they will be resurrected. As mentioned above, they are promised a place in the millennial reign of Christ, but what their duties will be is uncertain, but they will take part. Some hold to the view that they will act as servants in the millennium temple due to their description in Revelation 7:15 which states, "Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: And he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them."
Whatever their position, it is certain that they will have a special place in His kingdom, for He will dwell among them.
As stated earlier, the Lord will rule with a rod of iron, but believe it or not, there will still be those who will oppose Him. They will find out quickly that all offenders will be swiftly dealt with and they will not prosper. Some will be put to death and others will have their life shortened.
Everyone will make the trip to the holy city once a year and take part in worshipping the Lord. Those who refuse will not receive rain for their crops (Zechariah 14: 17, 18) and God will curse the ground that they sow. Many will give the Lord lip service for the sake of prosperity, but in their heart, they will be far from Him.
You may ask, "With all the prosperity and peaceful surroundings, why would anyone rebel against God? Besides, Satan is bound for a thousand years and won't be able to tempt man to sin!" It's true that this world will be free of the tempting power of Satan for one thousand years. Why then would the Lord have to rule the world with a rod of iron? After all, isn't Satan the reason why we sin? Not at all! Every person that is born into this world is born with a sin nature (Psalm 51:5). Even though everyone who is granted to enter into the millennium will be saved and filled with the Spirit, as time goes on, that will change. During this time there will be a population explosion, and as each generation passes, men will begin to resist the grace of the Lord and choose their own way. They will not want to retain the Lord in their hearts. This rebellion will not be an outward uprising, for the Lord will not allow that, but a rebellion of the heart. Though they will obey, it will only be for the purpose of receiving blessings from the Lord.
You may ask, "How could this be possible?" Because Satan is not the reason we rebel against God. Rebellion is born within every man and resides within the sin nature. He only uses this nature to manipulate us to sin against God. But remember, Satan is not on the earth at this time, he has been bound for one thousand years, yet the Lord must still rule with a rod of iron. Why would rebellion be a problem? Although the Lord will greatly bless man both physically and spiritually, some will still choose to follow their sin nature as opposed to allowing the Spirit nature to rule their life. Through all the prosperity, peace and even the absence of Satan, man will still choose in their heart to live in rebellion against God. This just proves what God has known from the beginning of time, that man is a sinner in need of a Savior.
At the end of the thousand-year reign of Christ, Satan will be released on the earth again. He will find many eager to follow him.
During the Millennium, the nations will be very prosperous and many advanced technologies will be discovered. It wouldn't surprise me a bit if the basic mode of transportation were through some sort of molecular transporter pad like the one on Star Trek. Whatever discoveries there may be will be for the benefit of those who are on the earth.
The Millennium will provide perfect weather and will in a sense be a tropical paradise. There won't be any extreme shifts in the weather, nor will their be storms, hurricanes or floods to fear, for God will maintain proper climate control year round. It is generally believed that the mist of the ground as before the flood will irrigate the earth.
After years of pollution and war, the land will need to be healed and restored. The bible describes that God will once again bless the earth bringing it to its former glory of Eden. "For the LORD shall comfort Zion: He will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody" (Isaiah 51:3). The waters will come alive with every type of fish and become one hundred percent pure for drinking, and the land will blossom with an abundant harvest. This will be a time of tremendous agricultural blessing. The earth literally will not be able to receive its bounty (Joel 2:24).
God will change the nature of man so that he will greatly enjoy his labors (Isaiah 65:21-23). No more will a man dread going to his occupation on Monday morning. He will be perfectly suited for the profession he has chosen and will do it with joy. Although not specifically mentioned in the Bible, I believe that everyone who enters into the Millennium age will be healed of God of all diseases and will be changed (Isaiah 65:20). While their age will not be altered, everyone young and old will receive youthful durable bodies that will stay strong throughout the millennium. In fact, many will live all the way through the entire Millennium age. These bodies will not be indestructible, but I believe will be able to withstand much punishment and perform great feats of strength.
The world will have the absolute peace of God and be completely safe. Crimes such as murder, rape and theft will be non-existent. And when I say non-existent, I mean zero crime rates worldwide. It's hard to imagine living in a city with no crime, let alone the entire world, but it will happen. People will actually look after the well being of one another. Thoughtfulness and consideration will be the norm and social status, jealous and envy will be a thing of the past (Isaiah 58:7). It should be understood that man will not be perfect during the millennium, but God will bring renewal to every person's heart and they will encounter a revival never experienced in all of history.
All war materials and weapons will be destroyed as well. "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills. And all nations shall flow unto it and many people shall go and say, come ye and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations and shall rebuke many people; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation. Neither shall they learn war anymore." (Isaiah 2:2-4)
With Jesus as King Of kings and Lord of lords, we will not have to worry about nation rising against nation and kingdom against kingdom, for He will be our sole protector. No longer will man study war, but will trade in their weapons for instruments of farming.
This will be a special time when this world will finally live in harmony with his neighbor. Oliver B. Greene, in his book Bible Prophecy, describes it like this:
In that glorious kingdom, people will continue their national life and yet work together as a harmonious organism, as the members of one body. Mutual well-being will be promoted by all. Like one big family, there will be much variety and yet there will be perfect unity.
Only God can bring about such an era, and it will come only when "the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea" (Hab. 2:14).
Although man, throughout the centuries, has tried to achieve peace it will finally be accomplished when the Lord of Glory comes and takes over. He alone will bring harmony to this sin sick world and release it from the curse of sin that has held it captive for thousands of years.
And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison... (Revelation 20:7)
At the end of the one thousand year reign of Christ, Satan is released from his prison. Why is Satan turned loose upon the nations? To do the same work that he has been doing since the dawn of man, to deceive the nations of the world and to lead them in a final rebellion against God. But why would God loose Satan to roam free on the earth again after He had him bound? Noted author and speaker Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe gives this explanation:
Satan will be released from the pit and permitted to lead one last revolt against the Lord. Why? As final proof that the heart of man is desperately wicked and can be changed only by God's grace. Imagine the tragedy of this revolt: People who have been living in a perfect environment, under the perfect government of God's Son, will finally admit the truth and rebel against the King! Their obedience will be seen as mere feigned submission, and not true faith in Christ at all.
F.C. Jennings author of Studies In Revelation states that the heart of man does not change just because his carnal mind has made friendship with God. He writes:
Has human nature changed, at least apart from sovereign grace? Is the carnal mind at last friendship with God? Have a thousand years of absolute power and absolute benevolence, both in unchecked activity, done away with all war forever and forever? These questions must be marked by a practical test. Let Satan be loosed once more from his prison. Let him range once more earth's smiling fields that he knew of old. He saw them last soaked with blood and flooded with tears, the evidence and accompaniments of his own reign, he sees them now "laughing with abundance."...
But as he pursues his way further from Jerusalem, the center of this blessedness, these tokens become fainter; until, in the faroff "corner of the earth," they cease all together, for he finds myriads who have instinctively shrunk from close contact with that holy center, and are not unprepared once more to be deceived.
Even though every man will claim allegiance to the Lord, many millions will be eager to follow Satan in a revolt against Him. "And [Satan] shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: The number of whom is as the sand of the sea" (Revelation 20:8).
As shocking as it may be, after experiencing unprecedented blessings from God, the number of those who will rebel is so large that it is quoted as being a "number of whom is as the sand of the sea". But the Lord will be fully aware of Satan's plan and the rebellious heart of man. He will use this last rebellion as a means of separating those who truly love Him from those who are false professors.
Revelation 20:8 & 9 says that Satan will go throughout the world, deceiving many and gather his army together and surround the holy city Jerusalem. But the result of their rebellion will be disastrous and end without threat or fanfare. "And fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever." (Revelation 20:9b, 10)
This battle will end in a flash of lightning! God will send fire down from heaven and consume the armies of Satan even before they reach that great city.
This will mark the end of all human revolt and rebellion. No more will man desire to rebel against a Holy God. We probably won't realize the true depravity of a man's heart and how this could have happened until we get to heaven, but author Dwight Pentacost sheds some light on this subject in his book Things To Come. He writes:
Apart from some comprehension of the depth of depravity of the human heart there is no understanding how a multitude, the number of whom is as the sand of the sea" (Rev. 20:8), could revolt against the Lord Jesus Christ, when they have lived under His beneficence all their lives. But in this rebellion it is demonstrated once again that God is just when He judges sin. And the judgment comes in the form of physical death, through the pouring out of fire, on all the rebels assembled under Satan's leadership (Rev. 20:9). In this manner God removes all unbelief from the theocratic kingdom in anticipation of its merger with the eternal kingdom of God.
Following Satan's final crushing defeat, he will be captured and finally stand before God to be tried and sentenced.
Those who remained faithful to the Lord and alive on earth will be ushered into heaven to live eternally with the Lord in the New Heaven and New Earth. What a wonderful time that will be when we will see that great and glorious city and forever shall we be with the Lord.
When the books are opened, each person, who has ever lived, will be judged individually based upon his or her works. It won't be to determine if they are good enough to get into heaven for only the lost will be at this judgment. Those who have accepted Christ have already received their rewards and are in heaven. This moment will be the most tense filled and fearful time in the history of mankind. Those waiting to be judged will literally be scared to death.
This judgment will determine the severity of eternal torment for those who did not receive Christ. You may ask can anything be more severe than eternal damnation, and to be cast into a lake of fire? I don't know, but I do know that everyone who does not know Jesus as Lord will be cast into the lake of fire, and their torment will be determined by the degree of their wickedness. Take a look at the following verses:
Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: Woe unto thee, Chorazin! Woe unto thee, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: For if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee. (Matthew 11:20-24)
This clearly states that at the judgment there will definitely be those who will receive a more severe sentence then others.
And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. (Revelation 20:11)
Christ will be the final judge because all power has been given unto Him in heaven and in earth from God the Father. We as Christians will be present, but will not pass sentence at this judgment. "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: And another book was opened, which is the book of life: And the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: And they were judged every man according to their works." (Revelation 20:12-13)
Everyone will be judged individually based upon the works they did on earth. Many believe that all will be gathered into one place and judged simultaneously (Revelation 20:12), but each will have their own day in court as if they are the only one standing before God. I have heard many say that they will give God a piece of their mind or accuse him to His face. But on that fateful day, there won't be anyone cursing God or telling Him how unfair He is, everyone will stand silent, petrified in fear, and guilty as charged. The knowledge of Christ and His sacrifice will be revealed to them and they will at this time realize the horrible mistake they have made. They will have a change of heart and mind, but it will be to late.
Those in hell will be delivered up. They will already know the truth and some for thousands of years. How do I know this? You only need read Luke 16:22-31, the story of the rich man and Lazarus, to realize this truth.
When the rich man died and lifted up his eyes in hell, he immediately realized he had made an awful mistake. He made no excuses to try to persuade God to let him out or that he did not belong there. I believe the truth was immediately revealed to him upon entering hell leaving him without excuse or hope. You may ask, "How do you know this to be true? Let's look at Luke 16:27-31.
Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, they have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, nay, father Abraham: But if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, if they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
This passage tells me that immediately following the death of the rich man, he found himself in hell being tormented and burning in the flames that surrounded him. His immediate desire was that Lazarus dip the tip of his finger in water and cool his tongue, for he was in torment. Strangely enough, he did not plead his case, nor exclaim his innocence or declare how unfair God was for sending him to this place. He knew he was guilty and without hope. Realizing his irreversible fate, he then requested that Abraham send Lazarus back from the dead to warn his family of this horrible place. Abraham's reply was that they have Moses and the prophets. Then the rich man states something that leads me to believe that his eyes were opened at this time. "And he said, Nay, father Abraham: But if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent." How did he know that the only way to heaven was to repent? I believe that the truth was revealed to him the minute he entered hell, as it will be revealed to those who stand before God at the final judgment.
There will also be those who will still claim that their works, done in His name, should entitle them to get into heaven (Matthew 7:21-23), but as religious as they maybe, Christ will command them to depart without explanation. I find it peculiar that no explanation was afforded them. This leads me to believe that they were given full knowledge of the truth but still tried to make a case before God. But in the end they will all submit and declare that "at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:10-11)
"And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: And another book was opened, which is the book of life: And the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works." (Revelation 20: 12-13)
What a horrible moment in time it will be for billions of people, lost, without hope, and without excuse. There will be much weeping and pleading before the throne for mercy, but the time for mercy will be over.
I also believe that this will be a horrible moment in many born again believers lives. For many Christians will stand and watch as loved ones and friends are pronounced guilty and without hope, and cast eternally into the lake of fire because they would not share the Gospel with them. Husbands will be separated from their wives, fathers and mothers from their children, and brothers from their sisters. Separated eternally, and without reprieve, never to be held or touched again.
You may ask, "How will any Christian in their right mind be able to withstand this horrible judgment?" The Bible is not clear on how we will handle what will happen, but many believe that we will have glorified bodies and therefore have the mind of God. I believe this in part. Yes, we will have glorified bodies and we will have the mind of God, to the extent that we will be able to say, even as our loved ones are being cast into the lake of fire, that God is just and His judgments true. But I believe that many tears of agony will be shed during that time by Christians who will for the last time see their loved ones due to a lack of concern for their soul.
"And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." (Revelation 20:15)
To be cast into a lake of fire is indeed a horrible and final end to anyone's life, but unfortunately, that will only be the beginning of woes for those who turned their back on God. For all will suffer in varying degrees beyond the anguish of the lake that burns with fire, to what degree I do not know. I do know they will still possess their five senses, as the rich man did in hell, and will still be enslaved to their hang-ups, addictions, and lusts without fulfillment. And worst of all, their state will be eternal.
It is appointed unto man that he stand before God and give an account of His works, and what he has done in the body (II Corinthians 5:10). Satan has deceived many today into believing that their good works will out weigh their bad works, thus assuring them of a place in heaven. However, nowhere in the Bible is that doctrine supported and they will be terribly wrong. For it is only through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we are granted eternal life. With that said, today are you prepared to meet God?
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: For the former things are passed away. (Revelation 21:3, 4)
After this horrible final judgment, God will wipe away all tears from our eyes and the remembrance of those who were cast into the lake of fire. From that day forward it will be as if they never existed. How do I know this? "The former things are passed away" and that includes crying, pain, sorrow and death. Remembering lost loved one's would only serve to bring back all those emotions that God has expelled from our lives.
Heaven will be our new eternal home, and the Lord will be our provider and source of everything that we need. A question I get frequently from many of my readers is "What will we do in heaven?" Actually the Bible isn't that specific as to what duties we will do in heaven other then that we will rule and reign with Christ, and serve Him forever (Revelation 22:3-5). But I do know this, our greatest desire will be to praise, worship and adore the Lord without end. When I tell that to someone they usually give me a perplexed look. They're looking for me to list activities such as golf or going to a ballgame or just relaxing on the white sands of a tropical beach. That does sound nice, but I can assure you that the activities of the world will not be the activities of heaven. For all those things will pass away (I Corinthians 7:29-31), and in fact, won't even be a thought in our mind. For our thinking will change dramatically and the Lord Jesus will now be the center of our world. Our love affair with Him will be all encompassing and will totally consume our every thought. It will be like being totally and madly in love for the first time every day for an eternity, and it will never end! Let's take a look at what the Bible has to say about our heavenly activity.
After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: And the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: And there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: And upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: And in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: And they rest not day and night, saying, holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, the four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: For thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. (Revelation 4:1-4)
This scripture passage begins with John the apostle being taken up to heaven to see things that must come to pass in the future. While in heaven, standing before the throne, he saw the Lord in all His brilliance, and round about His throne were twenty-four thrones and they that sat on them. Those who sat on the thrones are the representatives of the New Testament church or Christians like you and me. The Bible says that "the four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: For thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." This is a picture of the normal activity in heaven and our greatest pleasure. These twenty-four men of God, who had earthly desires like us, are bowing before the throne, and giving praise and worship to the one who saved them. They have no other desire, and in that day, neither will we. For we will long to be in His presence, to do His will, and worship Him forever and ever.