The End of the Beginning
What actually happens after Jesus comes back? Is that the end, or is there even more to the story?
Good morning. David Sorn. Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church.
Before we get started this morning, I wanted to update you on the special offering we took for our projects in Haiti last week.
Last week, we boldly asked and prayed to receive a $6,000 special offering in one day, so we could repair a back wall for our Children’s Home in Haiti…and also help furnish their Kitchen w/ a Propane Stove and more.
I’m very excited to tell you that we actually surpassed our goal and raised $6,516!!
Praise God. I’m both grateful and very excited for our team to start working on this…just 10 days from now!
We are finishing our “End of the World” series this morning.
As you are obviously aware by now, and as we’ve been saying all series, the world did NOT end on Friday, just because a Mayan calendar finished.
However, we figured since everybody would be talking about the end of the world anyway, what a great time to look into and study what the Bible really says about the end of the world.
It’s kind of a different series for us, as we’ve transformed into a classroom setting for a month, but a fun one nonetheless.
In the 1st week of the series, we talked about the signs Jesus tells us to look for so we can know that the end is near, or is coming near
In the 2nd week, we talked about whether or not there is a rapture of Christians before the end times start, and said, most likely, there is not, but Jesus will come back after a 7 year period of Great Tribulation
And last week, we talked about what types of things will happen during those 7 years.
TODAY…we’re going to look at what happens once Jesus actually comes back at the end of those 7 years of Tribulation.
THE THREE VIEWS
At the end of the 7-year period, Jesus comes back, and the whole world will see His coming.
Revelation 19 says he will destroy the anti-Christ and his false prophet, and they will both be thrown into the Lake of Fire.
I think many people assume the end times go something like this: Lots of bad stuff happens, Jesus comes back, heaven and hell.
But indeed there is more. Quite a bit more to it, and that’s what we’re going to cover today.
Jesus comes back in Revelation 19. Here’s what chapter 20 says happens next:
If you’d like to follow along today, you can w/ the Bible under your chair on page 1003 or on our YouVersion Holy Bible App.
(Revelation 20:1-3) – NIV
And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. 2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. 3 He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.
So, this is the first time we’re introduced to the “1,000 years” or simply the “Millennium Period” as theologians call it.
And it looks like Satan is going to be locked up for almost all of it…unlike in present day.
(Revelation 20:4-6) – NIV
4 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 about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.5 (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy are those who share 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.
So, there it is again, a 1,000-year period where some Christians are reigning with Jesus on earth.
So what IS this millennial period? Well, first of all, just like everything with the end times, there are some differing views on it.
There are three major views on the 1,000 year period: Postmillenialism, Amillennialism, and Premillenialism.
Postmillenialism is the idea that the present church age will gradually blend into a millennial age of peace.
Postmillenialists believe that eventually, Christianity will spread throughout the whole world…and the whole world will eventually become mostly Christian.
And when that happens, there will be 1,000 years of peace OR an undetermined time…many think 1,000 is figurative (Draw)
Most say the Tribulation period was at the beginning (AD 70), some say it’s at the end
It’s called POSTmillennialism because they believe Jesus comes back AFTER the millennium
It’s not a great view for a number of reasons:
The biggest one being that it’s clear in Matthew 24, that one of the signs of the end is that humanity’s faith will grow cold in the end and Christians will be persecuted.
It doesn’t look like a growing utopia.
Lk 18 even says, “When the son of man (Jesus) comes, will he even find faith on the earth?”
Interestingly enough though, from about 400AD to about 1900AD, this was the most common view for the Millennial period
In part because of the spreading of the Gospel around the world w/ colonization
But after seeing WWI, WWII, and more, it’s hard to feel like we are drifting towards 1,000 years of peace.
The 2nd view of the 1,000 year period is called Amillennialism
Which is essentially means NO Millennium.
These people believe that there will not be a 1,000 year reign of Christ.
They would say that Rev 20, the passage about Jesus reigning on earth is a figurative passage w/ a figurative number for Jesus reigning through the church in present day.
and that Satan was bound by Christ’s death…not in a separate 1,000 year period in the future.
So for them, the “church age” just simply ends at Jesus coming back, and then eternal states begin (heaven and hell) (draw)
There is no 1,000 years for them.
They are, however, more pessimistic about morality.
They believe there will be a gradual decline until the end times and when Jesus comes back.
It’s also been a fairly common view…but again…only from about 400AD onwards, and has been held by people like Augustine, Martin Luther, and John Calvin
It’s not currently the most popular though, and that’s in part because our passage in Revelation doesn’t seem to read quite that figuratively
The 3rd view, and I would say the best of the Three views, is what’s called PREmillenialism
Again, the Pre and Post in the views refer to when Jesus comes back.
So, Postmilllennialism, the 1st view, says Jesus comes back after the millennium (that golden age of peace)
Premillennialism, the 3rd view, says Jesus comes back BEFORE the millennium.
And I think that’s the most accurate reading of Revelation.
It reads like this: Jesus comes back at the end of the tribulation, then there appears to be a literal 1,000 years, as that number is mentioned a number of times, and Jesus reigns on earth. (draw)
Premillennialists would agree with Amillennialists in that humanity’s faith will indeed grow cold in the end.
They would say though, that there will be a cataclysmic 7 year tribulation period, Jesus comes back, and THEN the 1,000 year period starts.
Premillennialsim (that Jesus would come back BEFORE) the 1,000 years start was the belief of the early church for the 1st 400 years of Christianity…
It kind of got drowned out by Postmillennialism in the middle ages, but has now once again, become the most dominant view in Evangelical Christianity
I want to walk through some timeline stuff here, but if you are really interested in these different views, or also in the different views on the rapture we discussed 2 weeks ago, we have some free amazing booklets you can pick up
They cover the 4 main views on the end times, have charts, Bible verses and everything.
We’re giving away 10 free per service today in the hallway
If we run out, let me know, as you can always order one online
So, let’s make a final timeline of all end times stuff here. (flip board around)
Okay, it starts w/ just the “Church Age” – this is everything after Jesus.
Then, we have the Tribulation Period (prob 7 years)
This is all the stuff we talked about last week
Then, at the end of the 7 year period, Jesus comes back.
For the Christians who are living on earth at that time, 1 Corinthians 15 says that in a twinkling of an eye, they will be changed.
Probably in a way that allows them to live much, much longer
Revelation 20 also tells us that Jesus will come back w/ 2 groups of people
Martyrs (Christians who died for their faith) and the 12 disciples
He even tells the 12 in Mt 19 that they will one day rule w/ him in the future.
Our passage earlier says that the rest of people will not be involved until after the 1,000 years are over though.
Some theologians do believe all Christians will be a part of reigning with Jesus during the 1,000 years and others think just martyrs and disciples.
Hard to say.
But what about the rest of us?
Like, say the 7 year end period happens 400 years from now. You’re long dead by then.
Well, the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5, that to be away from the body, is to be with the Lord.
And to the thief who believes in Jesus on the cross, Jesus tells him that TODAY he’ll be in paradise
So, if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you will be in heaven when you die
But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you come back w/ Jesus to reign with him on earth for the 1,000 years. That’s not entirely clear.
You might. You might not. It’s up for debate, and again, not a HILL to die on. Like a lot of this stuff in Revelation
The only people it’s clear for are martyrs and disciples
Then, during this 1,000 year period, Christ will be physically present on earth and will reign as King over the entire earth. And there will be GREAT PEACE
There will still be unbelievers on earth who were alive at the end of the Tribulation period.
Many will turn to Christ and be saved, but not all.
Isaiah 11, Zechariah 14, and Psalm 72 all also point to this period where it’s like it’s heaven-like on earth (the lion lays down with the lamb passage)…YET in those passages, Jesus is still seeking out non-followers.
So, it’s obviously not the final heaven.
At the beginning of the 1,000 years, Satan is bound up in a bottomless pit and will have no influence on the earth.
However, towards the end, he will one last time join forces with the unbelievers who are left on earth
(Revelation 20:7-10) – NIV
7 When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. 9 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. 10 And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
Then, after Satan has been defeated, the 1,000 years will be over. Then this will happen:
(Revelation 20:11-15) – NIV
11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.
This is the great judgment where all people of the earth will be publicly judged.
So again, let’s say you die in 50 years, but the tribulation doesn’t start until 400 years from now.
Here’s what theologians think will happen based on Scripture: When you die, your soul will go immediately to heaven or hell, and you would stay there until the end of the 1,000 year period (that could be a timeless time, or it could not be)
Then, at the end of the 1,000 year period, ALL people, those who are already in heaven and hell, and those who were on earth during the Millennial Period, will be judged by Jesus on the Great White Throne.
Unbelievers will be sent to hell or sent back to hell
And we’re told that each person is given different degrees of punishment in hell according to “what they’ve done”
(Which is also echoed in Lk 12 and Mt 11)
Believers in Christ will be judged as well
But not to be condemned, as Romans 8 says, there is NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus
But they will be judged NOT GUILTY
And in this judgment will likely be rewarded based on what they’ve done.
Not sent to an eternal place based on what they’ve done – because that’s based on faith.
But rewarded based on what they’ve done.
(1 Corinthians 3:12-15) – NIV
12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.
So, while we will all have an equal amount of joy, the amount of our rewards in heaven appear to be different.
Other passages support this as well
It is then at this resurrection for the final Judgment, that believers are given an “imperishable body” that the Bibles talks so much about it.
Your soul is reunited with yoru body.
Obviously not your body from earth since that’s been eaten by worms or something, but most likely something that resembles it…but with bigger biceps.
So then what happens after people are judged?!?
Let’s read on:
(Revelation 21:1-5) - NIV
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘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.” 5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
Interestingly enough, the Bible says that believers will not live in heaven forever.
Meaning, if you die in 50 years, and the world hasn’t ended yet, you won’t live in that heaven forever.
There will be a NEW heaven and a NEW earth!
So after judgment, your soul will be reunited w/ your “body”, and you will live in eternity on the New Heaven/New Earth
This is a phrase that isn’t just exclusive to Revelation either
(Isaiah 65:17) – NIV
“See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.
(Isaiah 66:22) – NIV
“As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me,” declares the Lord, “so will your name and descendants endure.
(2 Peter 3:13) – NIV
But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
What it looks like in our Revelation passage, which is the most descriptive, it looks like the new heaven will come down, and there will be a joining of heaven and a new earth, a New Creation.
And THERE we will live in the presence of God…for eternity. (draw?)
And what the new heaven/new earth exactly looks like….it’s hard to say.
But the Bible does speak often of the earth being renewed. Or shaken…or made new in the future.
And it’s in that place, where heaven meets earth, in a new reality, where we will spend eternity with Christ.
Even the book of Romans talks about the earth being transformed to this place that 1) won’t see decay and 2) a place where it will join GOD’S CHILDREN in glorious freedom.
(Romans 8:20-21) – NEW LIVING TRANSLATION
20 Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. (explain) But with eager hope, 21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.
And one day…in the future…maybe in our generation, maybe not, this is all going to happen.
At first there will be the signs:
An amazing conjunction of wars, famines, and earthquakes
Humanity’s faith in Christ will grow cold
The Good News of Jesus must first be preached to all nations and all peoples.
Then the 7 year period of Tribulation will begin.
It will most likely begin with a treaty made by the anti-Christ w/ the Jews…and NOT a rapture of Christians…for Christians will most likely be there in the end
Then, during the 7 years:
The anti-Christ will rise to power
Massive persecution will break out
There will be signs in the sky
There will be plagues of hail and locusts and fires
And the anti-Christ will be supported by a false prophet who forces people to get his mark in order to buy and sell
But at the end of the 7 years Jesus will very visibly come back to earth and destroy the anti-Christ and his false prophet.
Jesus will come back with his 12 disciples and Christian martyrs, and they, along w/ the living Christians who have just been changed in a twinkling of an eye, will reign on earth w/ Christ for a 1,000 year period
The devil will be locked up for 1,000 years, only to released at the end, only to be defeated by Christ once and for all!
Then, at the end of 1,000 years, all peoples, from all times will be permanently judged, and will live for eternity either in hell, or in the new heaven / new earth.
There you go…don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t know anything about what the end of the world will look like!! J
It’s all fascinating stuff…and laid out for us in Scripture…
But this series, and this fascinating information, must cause us to do more than, “Wow, that’s cool!”
John Newton, who wrote Amazing Grace, once said, that when we get to heaven, there will be 3 wonders. 3 things that fascinate us:
Who is there.
Who is NOT there.
And the fact that we’re there.
Let us not, for one, just assume that our friends and family will be there with us.
For to not have them there with us….to merely just soak all this information up as just information, and not do anything with it, would be our greatest failure
Let us not just wait and see if they are there with us.
Let’s make sure.
And secondly, let us never take for granted the wonder that we will be there.
We can look ahead with great anticipation to that day when we finally get to spend eternity with Jesus
And explore this new heaven and new earth.
And ask Jesus all the questions we’ve been dying to ask
And worship our King for all time.
But let us not ever stop marveling, most of all, at the fact that WE GET to be there…and we didn’t even deserve it.
His grace and mercy for us…and our future…is simply amazing.
And it is that, that must amaze us more than anything.
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
You may use this material all you like! We only ask that you do not charge a fee and that you quote the source and not say it is your own.