The Eternal Extension of the Meditorial Kingdom

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Chapter Thirteen – The Eternal Extension of the Meditorial Kingdom

This week is the last in our series on the Kingdom of God. In our last segment, we covered the close of the Millennial Kingdom of God. We saw that Satan will be released after his 1000 year prison sentence and will go forth to form a large army both of fallen angels and men. In spite of the wonderful and almost perfect conditions of the Millennium, he will have no problem forming an army in number equal to the “sands of the Sea”

Rev 20:7-8, “Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea.” (NKJV)

His purpose for forming an army will be to overthrow the Kingdom of God on earth. He wants one more attempt to take back the Kingdom that he has lost to the Second Adam, Jesus Christ. For this reason he will move his army to surround the Saints of God to totally destroy them. Just as Jesus started out His millennial kingdom with only Saints so Satan seeks to start out his new kingdom with only unbelievers. However his aspirations are cut short as God sends fire down from heaven and destroys the human army of Satan. Christ then casts Satan and his angels into their eternal home, the everlasting lake of fire, which was originally prepared for Satan and his angels (Matt. 24:41-45) and will also include all humans who have rejected the salvation offered to them by God.

Rev 20:9-10, “They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (NKJV)

As a side note at this point, many have questioned whether men will be eternally punished in the lake of fire. One argument given is the inability of a human body to withstand the destructive force of fire. However, God surely can give unbelieving people bodies that will not burn up and thus are immortal. Another argument is that man, if given enough time, surely will be able to atone for all his sins committed in this life. There are two problems with this idea; first and foremost is that fallen man is incapable of atoning for his sins (Isa. 64:6). Even the very best acts of religiousness are viewed by God as “filthy rags”. Secondly, even if he could atone for his sins through suffering, fallen man’s sinful nature would keep him eternally in hell. Let us remember that the fallen man does not loose his fallen nature when entering hell. Therefore he will continue to sin at a rate equal or greater to that which he was accustomed too when living on earth. There would be no way he could catch up. 

Still others argue that a loving God could never torment anyone forever for their sins. This is argument is put to rest by our Lord’s own words when He declares He came not to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:17). He goes on to say in verse 18 that man ends up in the lake of fire of his own choosing. He has chosen not to accept Christ alone for His Savior and in doing so has chosen hell. Finally others argue that Jesus never taught about hell let alone it being eternal in nature. The truth is that most of what we know about hell and the lake of fire comes from the teaching of Jesus (Matt. 18:8; 25:41-46; Mk. 9:44-49; Lk. 19:19-31). 

All of these arguments fall with the record of this passage in Revelation. Please note in Rev. 20:10 John indicates that Satan and his angels are cast into the lake of fire “where the beast and the false prophet “are.” The beast and false prophet were thrown into the lake over a thousand years earlier (Rev. 19:20) and yet they still are in existence. Likewise, Jesus Himself, calls it a place of “everlasting punishment” (Matt. 25:46). There is no sense in it being “everlasting” if its inhabitants burn up in it shortly after arriving there.

At this point the current history of man comes to a grinding halt. It is at this moment the present earth and the physical universe that it is a part of suddenly are destroyed with a loud noise and fervent heat. Let us remember that it is Christ who holds the universe together (Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3). He is the “mysterious binding force” that so many scientists are trying to find and understand. It would appear at this moment the One who began time (Isa. 9:6 “the Everlasting Father” or better “the Father of Time”) by calling all things into existence and has held them together ever since will suddenly let go and all things will dissolve away. 

2 Peter 3:10-13, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?” NKJV

With the earth gone there is no place left for the unbelievers to dwell and they suddenly find themselves facing a judgment by someone sitting on a White Throne. His name is Jesus. 

Rev 20:11-12, “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them.” (NKJV)

John tells us that the “seas”. which are often used in Revelation of the nations of the world, will give up those unbelievers still alive after the battle of Gog and Magog. The rest of the unbelievers, whose souls inhabit hell, the place of spiritual torment, will be raised to life by when they are united with their former bodies. At this point God evidently makes any necessary changes needed to survive a lake of fire for ever. 

Rev 20:13, “The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.” (NKJV)

At this moment as all of unbelieving humanity stands on an even plain before the Lord, the Lord will call for books to be opened. The one book that is opened is the book of life. No mention is made what purpose it has here as it is not used in the judgment. The other books are the records of the works of fallen men. It is out of these books that fallen man is judged by Christ.

It is interesting to note that basis of the unbeliever’s judgment is the same as that of the believer’s judgment as given in 1 Cor. 3:12-15. Believers and unbelievers will not be judged concerning their sins but rather upon their works. This makes sense when considering a couple of truths. 

1) First of all, Christ’s atonement upon the cross paid the price for all of men’s sins. All the sins from the time of Adam’s consumption of the forbidden fruit to the last sin committed before the earth is destroyed have been placed under the atonement of Christ. The following verses more than amply illustrate this point. 

2 Peter 2:1, “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.” (NKJV)

1 John 2:2, “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. (NKJV)
John 1:29, “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (NKJV)

2 Cor 5:18-19, “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” ( NKJV)

1 Cor 15:21-24, “For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power.” (NKJV)

This work of salvation is applied to all men in one sense or another in this life and the life hereafter. For example “as in Adam all die even so in Christ all shall be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:21-22). For this reason as God comes into judgment with believers and unbelievers alike, the criteria for His judgment is not about sin but about works. Please do not misunderstand me at this point. Just because Christ has paid the price of all men’s sin and sin is a neutral point in the judgment of men does not change the fact that the all unbelievers will spend eternity in the everlasting lake of fire. It only indicates that sin is not the criteria that God uses to pass judgment. In fact, according to our Lord, this “2nd Resurrection” is one unto condemnation indicating that all who have a part of it will be suffering eternal condemnation (John 5:29).

2) Secondly, sin addresses the destiny of the individual. The believer whose sin has been forgiven will spend his eternal existence enjoying everlasting life. The unbeliever whose sin has not been forgiven by rejecting God’s way of salvation will spend his eternal existence suffering death and punishment (John 3:18). Since sin is the determining factor as to where one will spend his eternal destiny and that choice must be made in this life, it is no longer an important factor in these judgments which take place after this life.

The fact that works is the criteria of judgment indicate that this judgment of all unbelievers has no role in determining their destiny. Their works will only determine the degree of suffering they will experience when they arrive in the fire. Works are what we do as individuals with the gifts, talents, resources, and opportunities that God gives us. If an unbeliever uses them in a productive way to assist others he will receive a less severe judgment. If the unbeliever uses them in a destructive manner for personal gain or to cause others suffering, his judgment will be more severe. Let no one get the wrong idea at this point. Even the place of least suffering in the lake of fire is a torment that no one would ever want to face. In spite of the idea that for some hell will be an fun experience, there will not be any fun or happiness experienced in the lives of these poor souls. It will be a place of endless dying and physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual torment that never ends.

With the White Throne judgment completed, Christ will take death (physical torment) and hell (spiritual) torment and throw them into the lake of fire. Then he will take the billions of unbelieving humanity and He will cast them into their eternal home, the everlasting lake of fire “where the maggot never dies and there is wailing and gnashing of teeth.” (Mk. 9:44, 46, 48; Matt. 8:12; 13:42)

Rev 20:14-15, “Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” (NKJV)

Thanks be to God that He does not end the book of Revelation at this point. With God there is always hope if one trusts in Him. In the beginning verse of the next chapter (Rev. 21:1), we learn that God will then create a brand new heaven and earth, forever free from the ravages of sin that had so devastated this present universe. On this new earth, the New Jerusalem, the home of the Church, made by the Lord Himself, will arrive from heaven to take its place on the new earth. The Church Age Saints will call this city their home and the Jewish Saints will inhabit the land that surrounds it. The remaining land will be inhabited by the Gentile Saints of God who were not a part of the Church or the Jewish race and they will find this land a marvelous home for all of eternity. Even better yet, God will wipe away from our memories all those things of this life that would cause us grief and unhappiness. We will have an eternity to live life at its fullest. Exploring all of our interests and ever learning more and more about the God we love so well.

As Jesus told Nicodemus, to get into the Kingdom of God one must be born again. In John 3:16-18 He tells us that to be born again one must put their complete faith in the atoning work of Jesus on the cross. Have you made this important decision? Where will you be spending eternity?