| Part 9: Judgement of Mankind & The Millennium |
At the end of the seven years of Tribulation, the sun and moon will be darkened and the stars will fall from the sky (Matthew 24:29), the earth will be in a period of total absence of natural light. Then all the people of the earth will see Jesus descending from heaven on the clouds with power and great glory.
“Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” (Matthew 24:30)
All who were raptured, along with all those who were martyred during the Tribulation, are then gathered together (Matthew 24:31) to return with Jesus on white horses as His “armies of heaven” (Revelation 19:11-14) descending to the earth for the battle of Armageddon.
Then Jesus will stand on the Mount of Olives and it shall be split in two from east to west creating a large valley (Zechariah 14:4) and waters will fill the valley (Zechariah 14:8), destroying the current Temple Mount to rubble beneath its crystal depths. (Note: The future third Temple will not be built on the current Temple Mount site.)
Upon Jesus Christ’s second coming to the earth, a massive military power comprising all the armies under the Antichrist’s control will gather together in the Jezreel Valley (Megiddo - plains of northern Israel) to battle against Him and His armies of heaven.
This battle is not one to determine supremacy but a judgement of God on the Antichrist and his armies – which is swiftly administered. By speaking the Word of God, Jesus casts the Antichrist and the false prophet into the lake of fire, and then destroys all the forces of the Antichrist in a single moment. This battle is described as:
“And I saw the beast [Antichrist], the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him [Jesus] who sat on the horse and against His army [of glorified saints].
Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.
And the rest were killed with the sword [Word of God] which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.” (Revelation 19:19-21)
After the Battle or Armageddon, Jesus will supernaturally gather all the people of the earth before Him and they will be judged according to how they treated Christian believers and the Jewish people (“His brethren” i.e., His brothers and sisters) during their persecution throughout the Tribulation.
It’s called the Sheep and Goat Judgment, with the sheep being those who showed their true hearts by helping them through the horrific times just past and the goats being those who didn’t. These Tribulation survivors are not being judged by their works. Their works are being cited as evidence of their genuine faith, because when you “believe in your heart” you will progressively develop the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) which is evidenced by your good works.
“Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:17)
To give aid to a believer and/or the Jewish people during the Great Tribulation will take even more courage than it did in Hitler’s Germany, and it’s anticipated to be an offense punishable by death. Only a follower of Jesus, certain of their eternal destiny, would dare to do it or even want to. Those believers who have helped will have demonstrated the genuineness of their faith by their works and will be ushered alive into the Millennial Kingdom on earth. Those who refused to help will have condemned themselves to “everlasting punishment” by this evidence of their lack of faith.
Some of the believers ushered into the Millennial Kingdom will be new Christians, having just received the Holy Spirit’s gift of faith and are only beginning to change their lives and bud fruit. Others will have more developed faith, increasing their fruit (and reward in heaven) by studying and sharing God’s Word. Still others will have even greater faith, putting it into action daily and risking their lives in the process. But just like it’s been throughout history, all are saved by faith.
After the Sheep and Goats Judgement, the Millennial Kingdom Age begins, a one thousand year period where all those Jesus deemed to be fruit bearing genuine believers will live on earth in their natural bodies. Since it will be re-populated by tribulation survivors, only believers will initially inhabit earth, enjoying the truly utopian environment that mankind has always dreamed about, but only God can create. Children will grow up without fear and adults will grow old in peace.
Those people who were pre-tribulation raptured, along with all the martyrs of the tribulation, will live and reign with Jesus over the inhabitants of the earth (Revelation 20:4) in our new glorified bodies (Philippians 3:20-21).
New Heavens, New Earth and New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:1-22:5)
At the commencement of the Millennium, the current heavens and earth will be destroyed by fire (2 Peter 3:10), and God creates new heavens, a new earth and a great holy city called the New Jerusalem that descends out of heaven.
“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (Revelation 21:1-2)
In biblical times, the “heavens” referred to three separate entities above the earth.
- The skies/earth’s atmosphere. The first heaven – “birds of the heavens” (Psalms 104:12); “the heaven gave rain” (James 5:18).
- Outer space. The second heaven – “stars of heaven and their constellations” (Isaiah 13:10); and
- The realm in which God dwells. The third heaven – “the temple of God was opened in heaven” (Revelation 11:19); the apostle Paul was also “caught up to the third heaven” (2 Corinthians 12:2-4).
Therefore the above verse is referring to the entire universe being re-created – a new earth, new skies, and new outer space. It’s unlikely to be also referring to the third heaven, as related verses only describe the skies (Revelation 6:14) and outer space (sun, moon and stars) (Matthew 24:29) as being removed.
The new earth will be back to its original Eden-like environment when Adam was created, with a consistent temperature subtropical climate. The lands will be fertile and bear crops with ease, as all the hardship of today’s agriculture was only introduced by God when He cursed the land due to the sin of man (Genesis 3:17-19). The new earth will also include restoring peace between man and animals.
“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat (v.6a)… And the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den.” (vv.7b-8). (Isaiah 11:6-8)
The New Jerusalem is “heaven”, as our modern day defines this term, during the millennium (and possibly for all eternity) for all those who have their names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Revelation 21:27). It is a “holy city” being the abode of God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit (Revelation 21:22; Revelation 22:3), all believers (Revelation 21:3), angels (Revelation 21:12) and various other heavenly creatures dwelling “in the midst of the throne, and around the throne” of God (Revelation 4:6-7).
The concept that heaven is “in the clouds” is unbiblical. The concept that believers will be “spirits floating around in heaven” is also unbiblical. The New Jerusalem is a real physical city, just as all believers will receive real physical glorified bodies.
What will the New Jerusalem be like?
Some characteristics of the New Jerusalem are described in the Book of Revelation (vv. 21:10 - 22:5), including:
- Dimensions. The city is laid out as a square with its length, width and height all being equal at 2,414 kilometres (12,000 Furlongs) or by comparison to today's standards, if it were one structure, it would have 475,000 floors and 5.8 million square kilometres on each level (yes, it’s quite huge), which is roughly two-thirds the size of the moon (Revelation 21:16).
The Bible doesn’t specify if it’s a cube or pyramid-shaped, however considering that the Most Holy Place in Solomon’s Temple was a cube (1 Kings 6:20) – where the “Ark of the Covenant” was kept (1 Kings 8:6) – then it’s more likely to be a cube than a pyramid-shaped city.
- There is no night in the New Jerusalem, it has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminates it. Jesus Christ is its light (Revelation 21:23).
- Location. The New Jerusalem will likely be situated above the new earth, not on the new earth, potentially akin to a low orbiting satellite. Although its locality is not specifically stated in the Bible, this assumption is based not only on the sheer size of the city, but also because God states that “the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light” (Revelation 21:24), yet “while the earth remains...day and night shall not cease” (Genesis 8:22).
So if there’s no sun or moon, and the people inhabiting the new earth walk in the light of the New Jerusalem, yet also have day and night, then is must be statically positioned above a revolving earth. Furthermore, the Bible only identifies it as “coming down out of heaven from God”, not landing on the earth.
- Made of Pure Gold. The construction of the city and its streets are of pure gold, yet inherently transparent like glass (Revelation 21:18); (Revelation 21:21), assumedly to facilitate “the glory of God” (Revelation 21:11) that emanates from Jesus Christ to shine through the city and illuminate the new earth.
- The wall around the city is 65 meters tall (144 cubits) and constructed of jasper (Revelation 21:17-18) with twelve gates, three on each side. Each gate is made from a single pearl (hence “Pearly Gates”) (Revelation 21:21), has an angel appointed to it, and is named as of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel (Revelation 21:12-13).
The wall has twelve foundations and on them are the names of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ (Revelation 21:14). The foundations are adorned with all kinds of precious stones (Revelation 21:19-20).
Now a thought. If the foundations and the streets of the New Jerusalem are created so incredibly opulent, what kind of extravagantly luxurious features do you think the mansions (just one of God’s promises to every believer) in the New Jerusalem will include?
What will the Millennium be like?
Our existence in the millennium and the magnificence of heaven is one of a different dimension, so awe-inspiring that our human minds are incapable of even imagining such things:
“But as it is written: [What] ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’” (1 Corinthians 2:9)
God Himself resides with man:
“…the tabernacle [dwelling place] of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.” (Revelation 21:3)
“They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.” (Revelation 22:4)
The curse that came from sin will never have any influence again (Revelation 22:3). It’s difficult to imagine a world without pain or sorrow, but that’s exactly what God promises – a reality beyond imagination.
“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)
A believer’s existence in the millennium will not be marred by any negative memories of the old sin stained earth. Our memories of these things will be completely wiped away:
“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.” (Isaiah 65:17)
Will glorified believers be able to explore the new universe in the Millennium?
The answer is that it’s not specifically stated in the Bible, but it’s certainly possible considering that God states that angels have this ability when He identifies “an angel standing in the Sun” (Revelation 19:17); and believers are given to “judge [also meaning rule or govern] the angels” (1 Corinthians 6:3). Therefore we can surmise from these verses that believers, as God’s children, will be given a higher position/authority than the angels in heaven.
At the conclusion of the 1,000 year Millennial Kingdom, the Great White Throne Judgement occurs where God judges all unbelievers who have died from the beginning of mankind; plus all believers and unbelievers who have either died during the Millennium or are alive on earth at the time.
“And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books...And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:12-15)
The books that are opened contain records of everyone’s deeds, whether they are good or evil, because God knows everything that has ever been said, done, or even thought and He will reward or punish each one accordingly (Romans 2:6). After which, eternity begins.
The Bible doesn’t provide a lot of detail about eternity, it concludes at the end of the Millennium yet teaches us that every person ever to have received life – being at the moment of conception (Jeremiah 1:5; Psalms 139:13; Psalms 139:16) – has eternal life (Matthew 25:46). Either with God in glory, or separated from Him to be tormented in the lake of fire.
In the next part we’ll explore what all this means for you and provide you with the evidence as to why all other world-views are deception.