We’ve already talked about the signs of the end times. We’ve talked about the rapture of the church. Last week, we dug into the timeline of the end times and the tribulation.
Today I am going to help you understand what happens after the tribulation: the millennium followed by eternity.
Timeline of the End Times
First, let’s quickly review the timeline of the end times. As I explained last week, we don’t know the exact dates these things will happen, but we do know the chain of events.
We a currently at the end of the church age. The next thing that will happen is the rapture of the church.
The church is raptured/ The world is in tribulation
When we are raptured, we will go immediately to the Judgement Seat of Christ. This is not to determine whether we are saved or not. That fact that you were raptured proves you were saved.
The Judgement Seat of Christ is when you will stand before Jesus to be judged for what you did on the earth. Everything evil and worthless will be burned up. Everything you did for the kingdom of God will be rewarded.
Then we will enter into the marriage supper of the lamb. We will enjoy a seven-year feast with Jesus while the world is suffering through the tribulation.
Speaking of, the tribulation is going to be terrible. I went through the details of that last week, and I don’t want to scar the kids in the room by going through it again.
At the end of the seven-year tribulation is the return of Jesus Christ. He will come back with eyes of fire and destroy the beast, the false prophet, and everyone who worshiped the beast.
We come back with Jesus to rule and reign on the earth for a one thousand year period called the millennium. I am going to explain that to you today.
After the thousand years is the final judgment where everyone who rejected Christ will be sentenced to eternity in the lake of fire.
At this point, the earth will be destroyed by fire. Those pushing global warming are definitely prophetic. But it’s not going to be caused by fossil fuels. It will be caused by God.
Then, God will create a new heaven and new earth. This will complete a seven-thousand-year trip from the garden of Eden to the end of the millennium.
In 2 Peter 3:8, we discover that a day is like a thousand years to the Lord. In Genesis we discover God’s rhythm for time: work for six days, rest for one.
This is why there is a seven thousand year trip from the garden of Eden to the end of the millennium. Take a look at this chart for a better understanding.
Time started when God created Adam around six thousand years ago. On our chart, this is the beginning of Day 1.
Then, for two thousand years, men just did what they thought was best. It’s called the age of chaos for obvious reasons.
Then God gave Moses the Torah, or the law. This includes the first five books of the Bible which give us instructions on how to live godly lives.
This began a two-thosand year period of the law. At the end of that time, the Messiah came, which is Jesus, and ushered in the church age, also referred to as the end of days.
We are now at the end of the end of days. We will soon be raptured. The seven-year tribulation will take place at the end of day six. And then comes the millennium.
The millennium is like a sabbath. It is a day of rest for the earth. At the end of the millennium, God’s design for time will be fulfilled and we will enter into eternity.
Return of Christ
Now that we understand the timeline of the end times, let’s back up to the Return of Christ at the end of the tribulation and dig into the details at that point in time.
Right before Christ returns, the nations of the world will gather near Jerusalem for the war of wars called Armageddon. Zechariah prophesied about this:
Zechariah 14:1-2 NLT – Watch, for the day of the Lord is coming… I will gather all the nations to fight against Jerusalem.
This is at the end of the tribulation when the Antichrist is in control of Jerusalem. So the nations are actually gathering to fight against the Antichrist because everyone wants Jerusalem.
Once they are gathered, an unexpected army will enter the scene. It’s not an earthly army. It’s an invasion from heaven.
The heavens open
Heaven will open and everyone will see Jesus Christ on His white horse. His eyes will be like flames of fire and He will be wearing many crowns.
He will be followed by the armies of heaven, dressed in pure white and also riding white horses. And here’s what happens next:
Revelation 19:19,21 NLT – The kings of the world and their armies were gathered together to fight against the one sitting on the horse and his army. Their entire army was killed by the sharp sword that came from the mouth of the one riding the white horse. And the vultures all gorged themselves on the dead bodies.
Not only does Jesus wipe out the kings of the world and their armies, but he captures the beast and the false prophet and throws them alive into the lake of fire.
At this point, all unbelievers have been purged out of Israel. The believers who survive this war will be refined like gold. Satan will be bound. And everything is now ready for the Millenium.
In Daniel chapter 12, we discover that there is a 75-day gap between the return of Christ and the start of the millennium. During this time, Jesus will be preparing to rule and reign.
When I think about the millennium, my first thought is, “How is the earth restored after everything that goes on during the tribulation?”
You may remember from last week that all the sea life is dead at this point. A third of the earth has been burned. All the drinking water is tainted.
Who would want to come back to that? Well, I do because look at what is going to happen when Jesus returns:
Isaiah 51:3 NLT – The Lord will comfort Israel again and have pity on her ruins. Her desert will blossom like Eden, her barren wilderness like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found there. Songs of thanksgiving will fill the air.
The earth will be restored to garden of Eden status almost instantaneous when the Lord returns. It is going to be glorious!
Judgment of the Nations
Also, during the 75-day gap, Jesus will execute the judgment of the nations He mentioned in Matthew 25.
Matthew 25:32-36 NLT – All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
You may remember in the first week of this series where I explained how the Bible talks about three groups of people: the Jews, the Gentiles, and the Church.
When Jesus gathers “the nations”, He is talking about the Gentiles. Not the Church, not the Jews, but the Gentiles.
Sheep vs Goats
He will gather the Gentiles from every time period and separate them into two categories: the sheep nations and the goat nations.
The sheep nations, the ones He just described on His right, are those who cared for the people of Israel. The goat nations are those who neglected or persecuted the people of Israel.
In other words, every nation is going to have to answer for how they treated the Jews. Where do you think Germany is going to end up? Definitely a goat nation.
How about the USA? We are a sheep nation. Although there are plenty of Americans who hate Jews they are trying to change that. We must stand with Israel and prevent that from happening.
Because, in the judgment of the sheep and goats, the goat nations will be cast into the lake of fire. The sheep nations will enter into the Millennium. Just like God promised in Genesis:
Genesis 12:3 NKJV – I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you.
Those who blessed the nation of Israel will be blessed with the Millennium. Those who cursed the nation of Israel will be thrown into the lake of fire.
After the judgment of the nations, the millennium will begin. The earth will finally enter into its thousand-year sabbath after six thousand years of hard work.
Israel will finally possess all of the land promised to Abraham. The desert will become a fertile plain. The dead sea will burst with life, containing the same fish found in the Mediterranean Sea.
All people will enjoy divine health. Jerusalem will become the joy of the world, for Jesus will reign there.
Imagine, a thousand years of Sabbath rest, genuine peace, perfect health, and unhindered worship of our King Jesus Christ. The earth will be in true harmony where the wolf shall lie with the lamb.
Purpose of the Millenium
Some might be wondering, “This sounds great and all. But why do we need a thousand-year Millennium on the earth? Can’t we just enter into eternity?”
That’s a great question. There are many reasons God included the Millennium in His plan.
First, Jesus promised to reward those who bless Isreal
As we talked about earlier. The millennium is a reward for the sheep nations.
Second, God promised Abraham land that Israel has yet to possess
To give you perspective, Biblical scholars estimate that the land promised to Israel is approximately 300,000 square miles.
They currently occupy around 8,000 square miles. In times past, they have occupied more. But they have never occupied the full 300,000 square miles. That is, until the Millennium.
Third, the Millennium will fulfill the prayer Jesus taught us
Jesus taught us in Luke 11 to pray, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
This has been prayed by millions throughout generations. God hears our prayers and this request will be completely fulfilled during the Millennium.
Lastly, the Millennium will be the final preparation for eternity
Satan will be bound. Jesus will rule from Jerusalem. The church will rule with Him with godly wisdom.
The world will be marked by joy, holiness, glory, comfort, justice, health, protection, freedom, and prosperity.
Even so, man’s fallen nature will still be around. The believers who survived the tribulation will have children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Millions of babies will be born during the Millennium, and they will be babies just like you and I were, prone to sin and bent towards trouble.
Though the Christian parents who enter the Millennium will teach their children right from wrong, some of these children will exercise their free will and choose to do wrong.
That’s why Revelation 19 mentions that Jesus will rule with a rod of iron during the Millennial reign. Sin will still be around, and it will be dealt with, sternly.
The Millenium will prove that, even when Satan is bound, without the redemption of Christ, man has no hope. We can’t measure up to God’s standard on our own. We must submit to Jesus Christ.
The Final Conflict
You may be wondering, “How do you know sin will still be a thing during the Millennium?” We know this is true because of what happens at the end of the thousand years.
Revelation 20:7-8 NLT – When the thousand years come to an end, Satan will be let out of his prison. He will go out to deceive the nations—called Gog and Magog—in every corner of the earth. He will gather them together for battle—a mighty army, as numberless as sand along the seashore.
What will make these people follow Satan? The sinful nature they have yet to crucify by following Christ.
Just like Adam and Eve who lived in the perfect environment chose to sin, there will be people in the Millennium who choose to sin. And when Satan is released, they will willingly follow Him.
Satan will gather an army together to once again fight against Jerusalem, where Jesus rules and reigns. Once and for all, the people of the earth will learn that rebellion always ends in destruction. Because here’s how it ends:
Revelation 20:9-10 NLT – And I saw them as they went up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded God’s people and the beloved city. But fire from heaven came down on the attacking armies and consumed them. Then the devil, who had deceived them, was thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur, joining the beast and the false prophet. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
The last call
In the end, the Millennium turns out to be God fulfilling His promises and giving mankind time to choose Him. And even though He will provide the perfect environment, many will still reject Him.
God is so patient. But in the end, He will purge creation of the evil effects of sin finally and forever. The earth will be destroyed by fire. Heaven and earth will pass away, and a new heaven and new earth will take their place.
This marks the end of time and the beginning of eternity. But first, there is one final judgment.
The Great White Throne Judgment
Leading up to this point, there have already been six judgments:
- The Bride of Christ, living and dead, are resurrected and rewarded right after the rapture (2 Cor 5:10)
- Believers who died in the tribulation are resurrected and rewarded at the end of the tribulation (Rev 20:4-6)
- Old Testament believers are resurrected and rewarded after the second coming of Christ (Daniel 12:1-3)
- Jews that survive the tribulation are judged after the second coming of Christ (Ezekiel 20:34-38)
- The judgment of the sheep and goat nations also happens after the second coming of Christ (Matt 25:31-46)
- The judgment of Satan and his fallen angels happens at the end of the Millenium (2 Peter 2:4)
There is one group of people yet to be judged: all the unbelievers who died throughout the ages. The final judgment is reserved for them.
Revelation 20 describes this final judgment as the Great White Throne Judgement:
Revelation 20:11-15 NLT – And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no place to hide. I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds. Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.
The Great White Throne Judgment is not for believers. It is the final sentence for unbelievers. They will all come before Jesus, He will show them why they are being judged, and throw them into the lake of fire forever.
He will also throw death and the grave into the fire, indicating this is the final judgment.
1 Corinthians 15:25-26 NLT – For Christ must reign until he humbles all his enemies beneath his feet. And the last enemy to be destroyed is death.
There will be no future judgments after the Great White Throne Judgment. Death and hell will be finished, eternity will commence.
After this dark hour of the Great White Throne Judgment, God will present us with a new heaven and new earth:
Revelation 21:1-4 NLT – Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
In the Millennium, we rule and reign on the earth with Jesus Christ. In eternity, we live in heaven with God Himself. We will be able to talk with God in the cool of the day, just like Adam did.
The Millenium is going to be awesome. Eternity is going to be even better. We will finally be home.
Philippians 3:20 NLT – But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.
What will we do in eternity?
There tends to be a lack of excitement about eternity because the church has done a poor job of explaining it over the years. Now, most think will be sitting around and plucking harps all day. Not true.
Although we can’t comprehend the full wonder of heaven, scripture does give us some ideas of what it will be like.
Heaven will be a place of praise. You won’t see people walking around with a sour look on their faces. No, everyone will be overcome with the goodness of God.
Heaven will be a place of meaningful relationships. Not only will we know each other, but we will also get to talk to believers who existed before us, including the apostles, Moses, and Jesus Himself.
Heaven will be a place where everyone lives to serve others. And no one will be griping about it. Serving each other will be something we are all eager to do.
Heaven will be a place where we get to learn new things, visit new places, and explore. For the first time, we will understand the fullness of God and all mysteries will be revealed.
Heaven is a place of unbelievable real estate. You will live in a mansion that Jesus prepared for you. You will walk on streets of gold. You’ll be lavishly prosperous and no one will be jealous of what you have.
Heaven is where we belong. And once we get there, time will officially end and eternity will commence. We will forever be with the Lord.
Where will you spend eternity?
Everyone listening to this message is either saved or lost. You are either walking the narrow way that leads to heaven, or the broad way that leads to hell.
You either know Jesus or will encounter the Antichrist during the tribulation. James, the brother of Jesus, lets us in on a simple way to know where you stand:
James 4:4 NLT – Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God.
You are either a friend of God or a friend of the world. You can’t be both. If you are a friend of the world, you are an enemy of God. Here’s how Jesus explains it:
Matthew 12:30 NLT – Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.
So, I need to ask you a couple of hard questions. I don’t ask these to lead you to a place of shame. I am only asking because I care about your eternity more than I care about your feelings.
Ask yourself this:
Have you become a compromising Christian whom Revelation describes as neither cold nor hot? Those who are lukewarm will be vomited out of Christ’s mouth.
Have you bought into woke Christianity that has a form of godliness but denies the power of Christ to free you from sin? Do you say you believe in Jesus, yet live a life of sin?
Have you chosen the world over God? Do you prefer fleeting pleasures of sin over the eternal pleasure of heaven?
Where do you stand? Where will you spend eternity?
As of now, it is not too late to choose Jesus. But one day, it will be too late.