JUDGEMENT AND THE FATE OF THE WICKED:
(Some of the Bible verses quoted in this study have had comments added in brackets. The sole purpose of this study technique is to clarify or introduce a line of thought. All verses are KJV unless otherwise stated).
What is the fate of the wicked at Jesus' Second Coming?
This is an interesting and important question.
Another just as important is; what about unsaved people who have died throughout history?
Are they treated the same as the wicked still living at the time of the Second Coming (ie, those who have received the Mark of the Beast), or do they receive different treatment; and perhaps even have a second opportunity for salvation?
Many people living before the time of Christ, never had the opportunity to know Him and to believe in Him.
Should they receive an opportunity to know and to believe in Christ, before being judged?
Well, according to Scripture, believing in Jesus is not the ultimate basis of judgement; otherwise demons would receive salvation;
(Jam 2:19) Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
(Jam 2:20) But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
So does it matter that some people had died without knowing Christ?
Most Christian's do reject the second chance theory, and acknowledge that judgement is based on our actions while alive, (regardless of whether we had heard of Jesus);
(1Pe 1:17) And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:
Why would we need to 'pass the time' in our life, in fear of God, if we get a second chance beyond our death?
Scripture is clear, that the next event to occur after death, is the judgement;
(Heb 9:27) And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
The ancients understood that our actions while here on earth, would follow us to our grave, and become the basis of our judgement;
(Job 20:4) Knowest thou not this of old, since man was placed upon earth,
(Job 20:5) That the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment?...
(Job 20:7) Yet he shall perish forever like his own dung:...
(Job 20:11) His bones are full of the sin of his youth, which shall lie down with him in the dust....
(Job 20:28) The increase of his house shall depart, and his goods shall flow away in the day of his wrath.
(Job 20:29) This is the portion of a wicked man from God, and the heritage appointed unto him by God.
Think about it. If it is true that there is an opportunity for salvation beyond the grave; then what is the point of repentance today? The doctrine of salvation beyond the grave makes a mockery of repentance. The need for repentance in this life is eliminated, if we get an opportunity to repent beyond the grave.
I don't know about you; but to us that sounds like a doctrine from Satan, to further his desire for the destruction of souls.
Jesus makes it clear;
(Luk 13:3) I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
The truth of the matter is, that now is the time to repent, now is your one and only chance for salvation;
(2Co 6:2) ...behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
Now some may ask, what about children who have died?
Young children don't even know about repentance, so how are they judged?
Well, it is our understanding that all children are born saved, until they reach the age of accountability.
Jesus confirms that children will inherit life;
(Mar 10:14) ...Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
(Psa 72:2) He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment....
(Psa 72:4) He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor.
So, back to the judgement.
As already seen, the judgement is based on actions, not beliefs;
(2Co 5:10) For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
Jesus confirms that He is the judge;
(Joh 5:22) For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:
Jesus is capable of judging people, without them having known Him;
(Rev 2:23) ...I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
This was not a new revelation from Jesus, notice these words in Jeremiah;
(Jer 17:10) I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
And notice this is regardless of whether they have known God; continuing;
(Jer 17:11) As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool.
No mention of a second chance here!
So at what point in time does this occur?
At what time do we receive 'according to our works'?
We know that a day is set for this event;
(Act 17:31) Because he (the Father) hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man (Jesus) whom he hath ordained;...
And when is 'that day'?
(2Ti 4:1) ....the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing...
So according to Scripture, not only judgement, but rewarding occurs at Jesus' Second Coming;
(Mat 16:27) For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
This is again confirmed in the following verse, which refers to just before the Second Coming;
(Rev 11:18) And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints,....and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.
Notice that all the living have been divided into two groups, righteous or wicked, (those with Mark of the Beast, from those with Seal of God) at this time;
(Mat 25:31) 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:
(Mat 25:32) 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 as we have already seen, this is when we receive 'according to our works';
(Rev 22:12) And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be....
And what 'works' does this refer to?
Well, reading on;
(Rev 22:14) Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
So, we have seen that the living are sorted 'as sheep from the goats' at the Second Coming; but what happens about those who have died?
Well, that will all be revealed shortly.
Some believe that the wicked are resurrected at the Second Coming, and live on through the 1000-year reign, to be given an opportunity for salvation. And as already covered, others believe the chance for salvation has ended by the time of Jesus' Second Coming. There can only be one truth. So what does the Bible teach?
First we need to look at timing.
Jesus Second Coming occurs at the end of the Great Tribulation;
(Mat 24:29) Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
(Mat 24:30) And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
(Mat 24:31) And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Notice that Jesus gathers His elect after the tribulation; at His Second Coming.
The whole purpose of the Great Tribulation is to test the faith of the living;
(Rev 3:10) Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from (through) the hour of temptation (tribulation), which shall come upon ALL the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
You will notice I have put 'through' in brackets beside 'from'. The Greek word translated into the English word 'from' (ek ex 1537); also means 'through'.
Notice the use of the same word (1537) below;
(Rev 18:3) ....the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through 1537 the abundance of her delicacies.
So a more accurate English translation could be;
(Rev 3:10) Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee through the hour of temptation (tribulation), which shall come upon ALL the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
By whichever descriptive means you wish to look at it with, by the end of the Tribulation,
(the time of the Second Coming), Jesus will have sorted;
- the goats from the sheep,
- the tares from the wheat,
- those with the mark of the beast from those with the Seal of God,
- those to be destroyed from those left to be gathered,
- the wicked from the righteous.
As we progress through this study; it will become apparent that Jesus will destroy ALL the wicked, which remain alive at His coming.
In the following verses, Jesus makes an important comparison about His coming, with events which occurred in Noah's day;
(Mat 24:37) But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
(Mat 24:38) For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,
(Mat 24:39) and did not know until the flood came and took them ALL away; so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
What does the Bible mean by "took them all away"?
Luke's account provides the necessary clarification;
(Luk 17:27) They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.
So being 'taken', (ie, 'took them all') means to be destroyed.
Jesus is making an important comparison here. He tells us that just as the flood destroyed ALL the wicked in Noah's day; so it will be with the wicked at His coming.
He goes on to say;
(Mat 24:40) Then two men (1 bad + 1 good) will be in the field: one will be taken (ie, destroyed) and the other left.
(Greek word for 'left' aphiemi = forgive, lay aside, send away, yeild up)
(Mat 24:41) Two women (1 bad + 1 good) will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken (destroyed) and the other left.
(Mat 24:42) Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.
These verses make it clear, that we need to be among the group who are left;
(1Th 4:17) After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.... NIV
At this time (the Second Coming), Jesus has completed the separation of the righteous from the wicked;
(Mat 25:31) When the Son of man shall come in his glory (Second Coming), and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
(Mat 25:32) And before him shall be gathered ALL nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep (righteous) from the goats (wicked):
(Mat 25:33) And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
(Mat 25:34) Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the (heavenly) kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
Jesus again explains (using a parable), the process of separating the wicked from the righteous, followed by the first death of the wicked who are still alive at His Second Coming;
(Mat 13:24) Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
(Mat 13:25) But while men slept, his enemy (Satan) came and sowed tares (children of the wicked one) among the wheat (righteous), and went his way.
(Mat 13:26) But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
(Mat 13:27) So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
(Mat 13:28) He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them (the wicked) up?
(Mat 13:29) But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
(Mat 13:30) Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest (Second Coming) I will say to the reapers (angels), Gather ye together first the tares (wicked), and bind them (to the dust of the earth) in bundles to burn them (later, at the end of the 1000 years): but gather the wheat (righteous that are left) into my barn (heaven).
Notice the wicked are first destroyed, and then the righteous are 'gathered' to meet Christ in the clouds;
(1Th 4:17) Then we which are alive and remain (ie, are left) shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Note what else is said regarding the tares (wicked);
(Mat 13:39) The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world (Second Coming); and the reapers are the angels.
(Mat 13:49) So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,
Jesus makes it very clear that at His Second Coming, the wicked are destroyed, and that the just are still here;
no secret rapture has occurred before the test (tribulation) begins.
At the Second Coming, all people who have ever lived will be in one of 4 categories:
1/ Righteous living
2/ Righteous dead
3/ Wicked living
4/ Wicked dead
Before we continue, it is important to understand that people do not go straight to heaven or hell at death.
When someone dies, they return to dust; their thoughts cease in that very day of death;
(Psa 146:4) His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.
(Job 14:12) So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.
When we die, (as Jesus put it) we 'sleep' in the dust until one of two resurrections;
(Joh 5:28) ....the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
(Joh 5:29) And shall come forth (from their graves); they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life (at the Second Coming); and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation (later, at the end of the 1000 years).
Notice that 'which resurrection', is based on what people have done during their life; not what they have believed.
These are the two resurrections;
(Dan 12:2) And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life (at the first resurrection), and some to shame and everlasting contempt (at the second resurrection).
Notice that there is no option, 'to awake' to a second chance for salvation.
All will awake to one of the above two options.
At the Second Coming, these 4 groups will be amalgamated into 2 groups:
1/ Righteous living +
2/ Righteous dead = 1/ All the righteous.
3/ Wicked living +
4/ Wicked dead = 2/ All the wicked.
Notice how at the Second Coming, the righteous dead and living, are joined into one group;
(1Th 4:16) For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first (ie, before the dead who are NOT in Christ):
(1Th 4:17) Then we (the righteous) which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them (the resurrected righteous, to become one group) in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air:... (to go to the heavenly kingdom for 1000 years: more on this soon).
The first resurrection is ONLY for all the righteous dead (that's every righteously judged person who has lived and died since Adam and Eve);
(Rev 20:6) 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.
The second resurrection, for all the wicked of all ages, occurs 1000 years later;
(Rev 20:5) But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished....
The wicked dead will not be disturbed from their sleep at the Second Coming. They will remain dead in their graves.
The wicked living (being put to death at the Second Coming), will therefore join the wicked already in their graves, forming our second group; ie, all the wicked of all time will be sleeping in the dust of the earth, during the 1000 years.
These are all resurrected at the end of the 1000 years to face judgment, plus their penalty, being the second death;
(Rev 20:13) And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell (the grave) delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
(Rev 20:14) And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. (their first death was either at the Second Coming; or in the case of the wicked of all ages, whenever they had died).
This second death is not eternal torture of the wicked as some claim; but rather the eternal termination of the wicked.
The result is eternal, not the process. To be eternally tortured, the wicked would first have to receive eternal life.
The Bible says the wages of sin is death (ie, the second death); not eternal life in order to be eternally tortured.
The truth of the matter is, that the wicked will no longer exist, because they are devoured by fire;
(Rev 20:9) And they (the resurrected wicked of all ages) went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city (which decends to earth with the saints inside at the end of the 1000 years): and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
The wicked are devoured by fire; they are reduced to ashes;
(Mal 4:1) "For behold, the day is coming, Burning like an oven, And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up," Says the LORD of hosts, "That will leave them neither root nor branch....... You shall trample the wicked, For they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet On the day that I do this," Says the LORD of hosts.
Not only will all the wicked cease to exist; but so will Satan cease to exist.
Notice this lament, revealing the fate of Satan;
(Eze 28:16) ...I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire....
(Eze 28:18) You (Lucifer) defiled your sanctuaries By the multitude of your iniquities,...... Therefore I brought fire from your midst; It devoured you, And I turned you to ashes upon the earth (when he will be cast into the lake of fire) In the sight of all who saw you.
(Eze 28:19) All who knew you among the peoples are astonished at you; You have become a horror, And shall be no more forever.
So you see, the options are not eternal torture or eternal life; they are perish or eternal life;
(Joh 3:15) That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
(2Pe 3:9) The Lord is....not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
The doctrine of eternal torture does not correspond with a God who hates unjust weights and measures.
Would a God of justice torture a wicked person for eternity, as punishment for 60 years of sinful living?
God calls their fate the Second Death, so we can relate its meaning to our first death.
Our first death is a state of unconsciousness or non-existence. The Second Death is more of the same, but this time eternal;
that is, there will be no coming back from this state of non-existence.
There are 2 choices, die or live;
(Rom 8:13) For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
Some might claim that the above verse is speaking of our first death. If that were the case, it would be saying that if we live after the Spirit, we wouldn't die our first death. That can't be it's meaning, because every Spirit filled person in history has died so far. The above verse is speaking of the Second death.
The following verse is sometimes used as evidence of 'eternal torture' of the wicked;
(Rev 14:11) And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever 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.
The first point to note is that the smoke ascends up forever, not that the torment occurs forever.
Secondly, having no rest is relating to the time between receiving the mark, until their death at the Second Coming.
The wicked can't worship the beast beyond this point in time, because the beast is cast into the lake of fire at the Second Coming;
(Rev 19:20) And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet ...These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
By the end of the tribulation, the wicked will be distinguished from the righteous; the wicked having the 'mark of the beast',
and the righteous 'the seal of God'.
ALL living people will fit into one of these two categories at Jesus' return;
(Rev 14:9) 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,
(Rev 14:10) 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 (until ultimately consumed) in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
This fire and brimstone is eternal fire. As mentioned earlier, the word 'eternal' relates to the result, not the process.
Notice that Sodom and Gomorrah are an example of eternal fire;
(Jud 1:7) Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
Sodom and Gomorrah are an example of eternal fire, and are not burning today. The result was eternal, those cities have ceased to exist; the process however was not ongoing or 'eternal'.
This fire and brimstone is not for the purpose of persuading someone to repent. Although this final burning of the wicked occurs at the end of the 1000-years, there is no opportunity for salvation after the Second Coming, when those with the Mark of the Beast suffer their first death. All wicked people of all time, will spend this 1000 years 'sleeping' in the dust of the empty earth (which will be a prison for satan and his angels).
Jesus also compares the event of His coming, with that of the wicked being put to death; by both the great flood and by fire in the days of Sodom.
(Luk 17:24) For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day...And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
Jesus makes it very clear that His return is coming as destruction upon the wicked.
He gives us these comparisons of the great flood and of Sodom.
We could ask ourselves, how many people survived the flood?
And how many survived the brimstone of Sodom?
'So will it be in His coming'; the saved are 'a remnant' (which thankfully we are told are a great multitude [because there are righteous from all ages throughout history], who through an obedient heart, keep the commandments of God.
(Mat 7:14) Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
You will notice again, from the following verses, that Jesus at the Second Coming, destroys ALL the wicked;
(2Th 1:7-10) And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed (at His Second Coming) from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe...in that day.
Notice from the following 2 verses, that as well as being destroyed by 'flaming fire' as seen above (ie, the brightness of His coming), the wicked are also destroyed by the 'rod (sword) of His mouth' (being the command of His mouth);
(Isa 11:4) But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
This is speaking of the Second Coming;
(Rev 19:21) And the remnant (of the wicked) 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 after these wicked die their first death at His Second Coming, the righteous of all ages are taken to His heavenly kingdom,
(1Th 4:16) For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain (ie, only the righteous are left alive) shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
And how do we know that all the righteous are taken to heaven?
Well, for a start, Jesus said that is where He would take us, WHEN He returns at His Second Coming;
(Joh 14:2) In my Father's house (in heaven) are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go (to heaven) to prepare a place for you.
(Joh 14:3) And if I go (to heaven) and prepare a place for you, I will come again (from heaven), and receive you unto myself; that where I am (in heaven), there ye may be also.
And why have we inserted 'heaven' into the above verses?
Because Jesus said He was leaving this world;
(Joh 13:1) ...Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father,...
And Jesus also said, that although we could not follow Him to heaven now; that we would 'afterwards'
(ie, at the Second Coming);
(Joh 13:36) Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, (to heaven) thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards (in the last day).
We see the fulfilment of this promise after the Second Coming;
(Rev 15:2) And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.
Note that this sea of glass is in heaven;
(Rev 4:6) And before the throne there was a sea of glass...
The following verses also confirm this group being in heaven;
(Rev 7:9) After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, (ie, on the sea of glass) and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;...
(Rev 7:11) And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts,...
(Rev 7:13) And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they (ie, they are not from here)?
(Rev 7:14) ....These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes,...
(Rev 7:15) Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple:
And again we see this multitude in the same location as the elders and the four beasts,...
ie, 'in heaven';
(Rev 19:1) And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, unto the Lord our God:...
(Rev 19:4) And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshiped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.
[The main reason why some believe that the 1000 years are spent on earth, is due to trying to merge Old Testament 'conditional' prophecies relating to the first coming; with our future Second Coming prophecies.
An in depth study on this matter can be seen here: Mans Choices ].
1000 year reign
There are a couple of reasons for the 1000-year period, with no people left living on earth. The first is for the earth to receive a Sabbath rest from sin. Notice that God has used this principle in the past;
(Lev 26:34) Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate,...then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths.
(Lev 26:35) As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it.
So after 6000 years of sin on earth, the earth will receive a 1000-year Sabbath rest, it will 'lie desolate', so that 'the land can enjoy its Sabbath'.
Because all the wicked are dead during this time, and Satan is confined to the earth, he will have no one to tempt during the 1000 years.
Notice how this is described;
(Rev 20:1) And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
(Rev 20:2) And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him (to the empty earth)
a thousand years,
(Rev 20:3) And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should (be unable to) deceive the (wicked) nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season (when the wicked nations are resurrected).
It is important to note that 'the nations' in the above verse are not speaking of a mixture of good and bad people.
These 'nations' are 100% wicked people.
How do we know this?
We just saw that Satan can't deceive these 'nations' until the end of the 1000 years.
So watch what happens to these same 'nations' when that time is up;
(Rev 20:7) And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
(Rev 20:8) And shall go out to deceive the nations (of verse 3) which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them (the nations) together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
(Rev 20:9) And they (the nations) went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them (the nations).
And because we have seen that there are nations of solely wicked people; there are also nations of solely saved people;
(Rev 21:24) And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it:...
This is because these nations (of either wicked or saved), were completely sorted out at the time of the Second Coming;
(Mat 25:31) When the Son of man shall come in his glory (at the Second Coming), and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
(Mat 25:32) 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:
(Mat 25:33) And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
And notice, it is at this point in time, that these two groups receive their eternal reward;
(Mat 25:34) 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:...
(Mat 25:41) Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed,...
Another purpose of the 1000-year reign with Christ in heaven, is to determine the amount of restitution each wicked person (and fallen angel) must suffer during their second death;
(1Co 6:2) Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?...
(1Co 6:3) Know ye not that we shall judge angels?...
And when does this judging occur?
During the 1000 years.
Notice the following scene in heaven;
(Rev 20:4) And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: (who is 'them', ...read on and see...) 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 worshiped 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.
This judgement is nothing to do with whether someone is saved or lost.
Jesus has already determined that (through the period of the tribulation), by the time He returns at the Second Coming.
This judgement is about how much 'vengeance' is required for the wicked actions of wicked people;
(Rev 20:12) ......and the (wicked) dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
Think about it, a victim of murder, may be the one determining how much restitution is required from their murderer.
Once 'the amount' of restitution is determined (for all the wicked who have ever lived throughout history), God will be the one to execute the sentence at the end of the 1000 years;
(Rom 12:19) ....Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
(Rev 20:9) . ..and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
Just prior to this eternal destruction of the wicked, is the only time in all history that all people (both good and bad of all ages), are all alive at the same time. The righteous of all ages will have returned to earth inside the Holy City; the New Jerusalem. After being resurrected, the wicked of all ages are deceived by Satan to surround the camp of the saints. They will then hear their judgement. Prior to their eternal destruction, even the wicked will confess that God's judgements are righteous; fulfilling the saying;
(Rom 14:11) For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
This completes the 7000 years (or a week in God's eyes).
It is at this time, when the wicked are destroyed by fire from God (the second death), that the earth is also cleansed with fire;
(2Pe 3:10) ...the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
[This burning up of the old earth is also evidence of the 1000 year reign being in heaven. Consider the frightful judgements the earth will endure by the time of the Second Coming; eg, a couple of asteriod impacts, the greatest earthquakes the world has ever seen, cities collapsing, etc. The earth will be in an absolute mess. For man to reign on it would require a lot of repairs. Why would Jesus have those living on the earth during the 1000 years, fix it all up; just to incinerate it at the end of the 1000 years?].
The earth is then made new;
(Rev 21:1) And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away;...
Things of this new earth, are beyond our imagination;
(1Co 2:9) ....Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
So, be sure to take 'the narrow way', because;
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Heb 10:31).
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