God Reveals The Future
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
And now, an unusual powerful promise:
Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets. Amos 3:7
One area that the Lord has revealed is concerning what happens when we fall asleep in death. We do just that: we fall asleep!
After he had said this, he went on to tell them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up." His disciples replied, "Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better." Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. So then he told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him."
John 11:11-1 5
He has told us what will happen at His second coming. He will return visibly, as He went. Only this time He will come with lightning bright glory. He will be accompanied by thousands and thousands of angels, and a trumpet that will awaken all those dead who are His. His followers will gather with Him, just above the surface of the earth.
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-1 8
1000 Years And Three Promises
Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.
We will now examine the three promises contained in Revelation 20:6.
PROMISE #l: We'll be changed and holy. Inside and out we'll have His image. This was explained further, when Paul wrote the people in Corinth:
Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed-in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."
1 Corinthians 15:51-54
PROMISE #2: Death will have no power over us.
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death-that is, the devil-and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
Hebrews 2:14, 1 5
PROMISE #3: We'll be reigning priests for 1,000 years.
... and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the first born from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father-to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. Look, he is coming with the clouds,, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen. Revelation 1:5-7
That reign will continue for 1,000 years.
I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshipped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. Revelation 20:4
God knows His children. He doesn't forget them. By accepting the writing of His law, His image, and His character inside themselves, they receive the seal of His Spirit as a promised gift from Jesus.
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to Come.
2 Corinthians 1:20-22
A Patient Saint Or The Mark Of The Beast
A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: "if anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. ..."
This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.
The lives of those who have God's seal, who are called His saints, will reflect His image: they will obey His commandments and remain faithful to Jesus. Those who follow the leadership of God's enemy will not be in God's image, either mentally or by their actions.
God certainly is specific about all this, isn't He? Thank God for the assurance found in Ezekiel that His Spirit within us will cause His followers to keep His commands!
"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws." Ezekiel 36:26, 27
A Thousand Years Without Annoyance
During the thousand years after Christ's second coming, no one will be alive on this earth for Satan to tempt. God's people will be in heaven. Those who have not accepted Christ's gift will have died from the brightness of the glory of His coming.
And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming. 2 Thessalonians 2:8, KJV
During the thousand years, those who are saved will be looking at the records in heaven, verifying God's fairness, and determining the extent of the sentence. During this time, we have a guarantee or promise from God that Satan will no longer be able to bother the righteous who have been saved.
And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations any more until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.
A sad description of the world during this time is found in God's Word:
I looked at the earth, and it was formless and empty; and at the heavens, and their light was gone. I looked at the mountains, and they were quaking; all the hills were swaying. I looked, and there were no people; every bird in the sky had flown away. I looked, and the fruitful land was a desert; all its towns lay in ruins before the Lord, before his fierce anger.
This is what the Lord says: "The whole land will be ruined, though I will not destroy it completely. Therefore the earth will mourn and the heavens above grow dark, because I have spoken and will not relent, I have decided and will not turn back."
Revelation 20:4-6, told us the story of those who were awakened at the first resurrection. The little parenthesis around the first part of verse 5 makes us aware of the timing when the wicked dead will be awakened also.
(The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.)
For the sequence of events, at this time let us remember that John 14:1-3 was a promise that God was preparing homes for us in heaven, which contains a beautiful city called the New Jerusalem. Then God promises in Revelation to bring the city down to this earth.
The Holy City Comes
I Saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, pre. Pared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
The sight of God's city evidently will anger Satan, who instills within the resurrected wicked the desire to attack.
When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth-Gog and Magog-to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. Revelation 20:7-9
Another description of the same event reveals:
Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshipped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.
Revelation 19:19, 20
The results of sin are so sad. For His children's safety, God will permit sin and anything connected with it to be consumed. Sinners who insist on rejecting God's gift of life and who try to take life away from those who have it, will be consumed with their sins. This is what they have chosen. In the midst of all this, God promises a gift to His children.
As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you. 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10
Eternal Effects Of Fire
The fire that comes down from heaven to finally consume sin will last until there is absolutely nothing more to burn. The destruction of sin is complete and assured. Its effects are as eternal as those of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah from the Lord out of the heavens. Genesis 19:24
... he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly. 2 Peter 2:6
In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire. Jude 7
Having burned until there is nothing more to burn, all that is evil is consumed. The fire burns itself out. What remains are the ashes awaiting the creative power of God to make all things new.
But the wicked will perish: The Lord's enemies will be like the beauty of the fields, they will vanish-vanish like smoke. Psalm 37:20
Surely they are like stubble; the fire will burn them up. They cannot even save themselves from the power of the flame. Here are no coals to warm anyone; here is no fire to sit by. Isaiah 47:14
Let's review the entire picture God has revealed to us through His prophets, just as He promised He would do in Amos 3:7.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything now!' Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."
He said to me: "it is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son."
It's our choice-and it's f ree!
The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" and lot him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.
I choose to accept this beautiful invitation...
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