Plan of God
The 7,000-year Plan of God for man on earth is coming to fruition as Revelation Chapter 20 comes to a close and Chapter 21 begins. The resurrections of the Last Great Day will have resolved every issue concerning mankind. Christ’s work of Salvation and Redemption for everyone whose name is found written in the Book of Life will be complete (Revelation 20:15). The world and the angels will have been judged. There is one most important final step that will be fulfilled. At that point we will await the utterance, “It is done” (Revelation 21:6).
When God gave mankind His Holy Days, He gave a framework of how His Plan for man would be worked out over the course of history. Each of God’s Holy Days in Leviticus 23 has an actual fulfillment at a specific time. The Last Great Day, which is the seventh and final annual Holy Day, is observed immediately following the Feast of Tabernacles. The fulfillment of the Last Great Day will pave the way for the New Heavens and New Earth (John 7:37). In Leviticus the Last Great Day is referred to as the “eighth day,” and is specifically mentioned in the list of the Feasts of the LORD:
Leviticus 23:36, 39 ...On the eighth day shall be an Holy Convocation unto you… On the eighth day shall be a Sabbath. (Numbers 29:35)
Why did Jesus observe the eighth day—just as He celebrated all of the annual Feasts of the LORD? Please do not be fooled by silly arguments like, “He had to keep the Jewish holy days because He was a Jew.”
Jesus kept the Feasts of the LORD (Leviticus 23:2) because God’s Feasts are extremely important to know and understand because they precisely reveal how God’s Plan for mankind is being worked out. The apostle John wrote that Jesus was faithful to comply with the requirements of this Holy Convocation of the Lord—the Last Great Day:
John 7:37 In the Last day, that Great Day of the Feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me.
The Last Great Day – the fulfillment of the final Feast of the Lord – will usher in the grand transition between the old physical world and the spiritual New Heavens and New Earth. When the work of Salvation and Redemption is accomplished at the close of the Millennium, and the resurrection of just men is concluded, there will be no more need of the old heavens and earth—which will be totally forgotten forever more.
Isaiah 65:17 For, behold, I create New Heavens and a New Earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.
Isaiah uses a noteworthy reverse literary construction as viewed looking back in time order from after the completion of God’s Plan. In Isaiah 65, Isaiah begins with the New Heavens and a New Earth (verse 17) and works his way backward in time past the Great White Throne Judgment period (verse 20) to the beginning of the Millennium when the nature of the animals is pacified (verse 25) where we find the wolf and the lamb motif.
Isaiah 66:22 As the New Heavens and the New Earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, says the LORD, so shall your children and your name remain before me.
In the same way that the Book of Isaiah ends with the theme of the New Heavens and the New Earth, the Bible ends with the same subject – the New Heavens and the New Earth in Revelation 21 and 22.
Everything that God created for this physical realm is only temporary—and it will have served its purpose. John speaks of this moment when Jesus Christ and the Saints will have gotten absolute victory over the entire old world (1John 5:5; John 16:33). The embryonic phase of the Plan of God for mankind will be complete when man’s creation into the very character and image of God (Genesis 1:26-27) comes to the full with parturition and glorious birth into the very Family of God (John 3:6-7). We are presented with a window to see beyond the allotted 7,000-years into the future eternity that lies ahead—the New Heaven and New Earth. John relates for us what he saw:
Revelation 21:1-2 I saw a New Heaven and a New Earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the Holy City, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven.
The New Heaven and the New Earth will see New Jerusalem descending from heaven. God the Father and Jesus Christ will be the Temple therein (Revelation 21:22). Old Jerusalem with its throne will be no more. The river of Living Water will flow out of the throne of God and of the Lamb (Revelation 22:1). The throne of God will reside in the New Heaven and the New Earth (Revelation 22:3).
As a point of clarification for our friends who have been taught that their loved ones—who have been “good”—have gone to heaven. Do not be concerned when you hear that the old heavens being on fire shall be dissolved (2Peter 3:12). The Bible makes no case for your soul going to heaven for all eternity when you die. Jesus refutes the misconception – though most will not believe His word. He says:
John 3:12-13 …You do not believe; how shall you believe if I tell you of heavenly things? No man has ascended up to heaven, Except He [Jesus] that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
Paul, speaking of the unsearchable riches of Christ brings to light the process whereby Jesus was the hands-on Creator at Genesis, while, truly it is God the Father who is Creator of the everlasting New Heavens and New Earth (Ephesians 3:8-9; Hebrews 1:2; John 1:3). The Book of Revelation originates and proceeds from God the Father (Revelation 1:1):
Revelation 21:5 He who sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And He said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
In vision, John was shown the spiritual New Heavens and New Earth (Revelation 21:1). At that point it time, the earth, the oceans and the stars as we know them shall no longer exist! Peter describes how they will perish:
2Peter 3:12 As you wait for and earnestly desire the coming of the Day of God, wherein The heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
This earth upon which we live today will be totally gone, erased and forgotten! God will usher in the spiritual New Heavens and New Earth superseding the prior physical heavens and earth.
God the Father reigns and rules the earth through His Son Jesus for the entirety of the 7,000-year Plan of God—but He remains at arm’s length until all godless authority and power have been vanquished. The universe, the realm of spirit beings, the earth and the fullness thereof are all under the auspices of Jesus Christ until He returns the entirety of it unto His Father:
John 3:35 The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. (Matthew 11:27; 28:18)
Messiah means Anointed One. Jesus, the Messiah, received His appointment and anointing from God the Father:
Psalm 45:6-7 [Unto the Son God says,] Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever: the scepter of thy Kingdom is a scepter of righteousness. You love righteousness, and hate wickedness: therefore, God, thy God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. (Hebrews 1:8-9)
God the Father has ordained, appointed and anointed Jesus as Messiah. All throughout the Millennium and Great White Throne Judgment period Jesus will continue to reign over the Kingdom of God on earth in His Father’s stead (Revelation 20:11-14). Then comes the end when transgression and sin will no longer exist (Daniel 9:24). When the Judgment of the Great White Throne is completed—then the heaven and earth will flee away forever and ever (Revelation 20:11).
1Corinthians 15:24-26 Then comes the end, when Christ shall have delivered up the Kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For [Jesus Christ] must reign, until He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
Those who are saved will become spiritual Saints, because, “flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption… So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, death is swallowed up in victory” (1Corinthians 15:50, 54).
God the Father will then dwell with His begotten Children—dwelling together for all eternity. We, the servants of God, are privileged to know exactly how and when this will transpire. Every enemy will be abolished. It will be a glorious new beginning. This Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God the Father gave unto Him, is detailed for us by the apostle John:
Revelation 21:1 I saw a New Heaven and a New Earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
The familiar constellations of stars to mark the seasons will be no more. The continents and hemispheres that we recognize today will be gone forever. The Atlantic and Pacific oceans will be dry land. New Jerusalem will descend from heaven to a New Earth—but as we will see, this Holy City is not constructed of stone and mortar. A city is its inhabitants! Cities are known for the people who reside therein. It is not the bricks and steel that make a city. It is the culture, beliefs, morals, traditions, customs, and ethics of the people who form a society – not the streets and sky-line. When Abraham sought the City of God—he was looking for the people of God (Hebrews 11:10; 13:14).
It has always been God’s desire to dwell with His people – and especially His resurrected Children in the New Heavens and New Earth. God told Moses:
Exodus 25:8 Let them make me a Sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.
Jesus will literally dwell with the resurrected Church Saints during the Millennium, but after that, He and God the Father will dwell eternally with the entirety of resurrected mankind whose names are in the Book of Life!
Revelation 21:2-3 I saw the Holy City, New Jerusalem, descending out of heaven, prepared of God as a Bride adorned for her husband. I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the Tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.
As much as the world looks forward to going to heaven when they die, God makes it abundantly clear that our dwelling place with God comes down to the New Earth. God the Father and Jesus Christ will begin to make their residence in converted, resurrected and cleansed Christians:
John 6:56 He that eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, dwells in me, and I in him.
John 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make our residence within him (Romans 8:9-11).
God’s desire is to dwell and reside with His people. Abide, abode and other translations of the Greek meno [to dwell] and mone [residence] are mentioned eighteen times in John Chapters 14 and 15 alone.
The Plan of God will have come to fruition at the conclusion of the Great White Throne Judgment when all righteous believers will have become resurrected Saints. But, there is much more! The Saints will begin to dwell with God in the fullest sense. From the beginning, God has Planned for the eternity beyond when He would live together with His offspring—the reproduced Elohim Family. The tabernacle in the wilderness was God’s dwelling place on earth, but only a preliminary type of the greater fulfillment of God living perpetually with His spiritual people. The Lord said:
Exodus 29:45 I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God.
Joel 3:17 So shall you know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.
As the concept of “Zion” is developed throughout the Bible we will find that it is ultimately the resurrected Saints of the City of God. (We use the lower case saints for the Church brethren, and Saints for those who are resurrected.) When we read “Zion,” we are to think, the people of God, the saints of God’s Church, and finally the resurrected spiritual Saints.
Zechariah 2:10-11 Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of you, says the LORD. And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of you, and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me unto you.
Whether it be the Sanctuary, the Holy Place, the Tabernacle, or the Temple, it is God’s dwelling place. It represents God’s presence, and it is where man goes to formally communicate with Him. With the coming of God’s Holy Spirit to those who would then constitute the New Testament Church of God, the concept of the Sanctuary, the Holy Place, the Tabernacle and the Temple – which were only representative figures of the true dwelling place – was realized in a much more personal way (Hebrews 9:24). Paul explained:
1Corinthians 3:16 Know ye not that you are the Temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
2Corinthians 6:16 ...You are the Temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
We will see how this concept of dwelling with God is even further expanded in the New Heaven and the New Earth. Not only will God the Father dwell in New Jerusalem—He will rule from the Holy City, New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:3).
1John 4:12 No man has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwells in us, and His love is perfected in us.
Finally, the unapproachable light for mankind will have become accessible light for the everlasting Saints as they dwell with God forever (1Timothy 6:16). Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (Revelation 21:4-5; 2Corinthians 5:17). We find Jesus dwelling with His Saints in the Millennium – a partial fulfillment of God’s desire to reside forever and ever with His Family in the Holy City of the New Earth:
Revelation 7:15 The [resurrected Saints] are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His Temple: and He that sits on the throne shall dwell among them.
This present earth will have served its temporary purpose. At times the earth can appear to us to be magnificently beautiful, but God reveals that its purpose in only transitory.
Revelation 21:4-7 God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death (Revelation 20:14), neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And He said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And He said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcomes shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
We read in Ephesians 1:23 that the Church brethren who make up Christ’s Body are the fullness of Him that fills all in all. Jesus Himself will bring the Church brethren to spiritual completion – ready for their next step – the resurrection and a most intimate fellowship with God the Father. Jesus’ glory never takes away from His Father because He is a reflection of the Father’s glory which He had before the world existed (John 17:5).
All of God’s Plan must come together in Christ. All of God’s law must be lived and conformed to. All men must be redeemed by Christ’s death—by His blood so that each person does not have to pay his own death penalty for sin (Ephesians 1:7; Acts 20:28). All of God’s desires for mankind must be met. All things in heaven and earth must be appeased.
All that is written in the word of God must be fulfilled. Paul presents the perspective of the final phases of God’s eternal Plan and Purpose as He brings all things to completion through Christ in preparation for the ultimate goal of all that is comprised and embodied in New Jerusalem. Therefore, Jesus is, all in all to the Church brethren as we see in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians:
Ephesians 1:10, 22-23 That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him… God has put all things under [Jesus'] feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the Church, which is His Body, the fullness of Him that fills all in all.
In Christ we find more than this entire universe has to offer. We find the meaning of all in all to be that each Christian grows up into Him in all things. We do so when we put on every aspect of who and what Jesus Christ is (Ephesians 4:15).
Colossians 2:9-10 For in [Jesus] dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And you are complete in Him.
Colossians 3:11 There is neither Gentile nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
For now, the Father has committed all things into Christ’s hands (John 3:35; 13:3). Jesus and the Saints are heirs to all things (Romans 8:17; Titus 3:7; James 2:5; Galatians 4:5-7). Until such time as all things are perfected by Jesus Christ, they must continue in His sphere of jurisdiction and dominion.
The changeover to God the Father’s realm will take place after the Great White Throne Judgment is completed and the old world is dissolved (2Peter 3:12). But until then, the Father has appointed Jesus to be the possessor of all things (Hebrews 1:2). Jesus Christ’s role as Savior necessitates that He bring everyone to their completed and perfected state before He hands them over to His Father (1John 4:12; Hebrews 10:14).
Christ must reign over mankind until He has vanquished all things that are contrary to God’s perfect way (1Corinthians 15:25). In the end, when Jesus has completed His work on earth, including the span of the Millennium, He will yield up the Kingdom of God on earth to God the Father’s sovereignty (1Corinthians 15:24).
This Scriptural phrase, all in all sounds to our ear like all things will be completed and finished in Christ. However, we will see that Jesus’ administration of the earth and all that is therein is a necessary requisite for the door to be opened for God the Father to become the ultimate all in all. There lies an eternity beyond in which God the Father shall reign over His Children in Mount Zion from henceforth, even forever (Micah 4:7; Isaiah 9:7). But before we examine the meaning of All in All — in God the Father— it is necessary to understand how His incomparable Holiness had to remain unassailable and untouchable while Jesus suffered the shame of the cross:
Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising its shame.
God the Father had to turn His back on sin, represented by Jesus, and allow Him to die alone. Jesus became sin in out stead. Hanging on the stake at Passover, Jesus said, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? That is to say, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46) The answer is, because of His supreme Holiness, no sin could come into the presence of God the Father (Isaiah 59:2). God the Father turned away from Jesus to let Him stand alone and die alone.
Isaiah 59:2 Your iniquities have estranged you from your God, and your sins have caused Him to concealed His face from you so that He will not pay heed to you.
Jesus taught that God the Father is fully set apart from all creation as the Majesty on high (Hebrews 1:3). Jesus instructed His disciples to pray, “Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name” (Luke 11:2).
Hallow is simply an old English word for holy or sacred. Holy means to “set apart” from everything else. As it is used here, “Hallowed be thy name” would best be rendered, “Father, your name is the Holiest;” or “Your name is set apart in a class all its own – it is held in the highest respect;” or “No other name compares to your Holy name.” Jesus intended that only His Father have the title, Holy Father. He specifically excluded any earthly religious leader being called Holy Father. In Matthew 23:9 He demanded that only His Heavenly Father be referred to in that way.
God’s Name, i.e., His reputation, His authority, His power, His morality, His spiritual perfection, and His majesty – are in a category exceedingly far above every other being (Exodus 15:11). God tells us that His ways and thoughts greatly exceed, surpass and completely eclipse those of the most brilliant intellectuals.
Isaiah 55:8-9 My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
God's ways are higher than man is capable of fully understanding, but He has shown us that He provides the knowledge that we can rely on to illuminate our path toward His Kingdom. Jesus Christ gave us this insight to help us grasp the supreme sovereignty of the Father. If we were to pray, “Me and you Lord,” we might start thinking that we are on a similar level with God. Instead, we pray “Our Father… Hallowed be thy name,” so that we understand that God exists in eternal brilliant glory in a spiritual realm far higher than our mundane existence. God’s Plan and desire is to bring us into His divine nature! He tells us to be holy:
1Peter 1:16 Be ye holy; for I am holy.
There is a universal Biblical principle that states that anything coming into God’s Holy proximity must be holy (Exodus 3:2-5). Man must be justified and reconciled before coming near unto God. Iniquity and sin have defiled mankind and caused a severance from God’s Glory (Isaiah 59:2; 1John 3:4). The wickedness of man cannot ever be permitted to impugn God’s Holy character. Sin has built a barrier of separation between God and man.
Our incredible potential is that we shall be holy like Him (1John 3:2). In praying, “Hallowed be thy name,” we acknowledge and accept that God is set apart; set entirely above every other being—including His Son, Jesus Christ, who being subordinate and submissive, always defers to His Father who is in the superior role in their divine relationship.
John 14:28 [Jesus said] ...I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I am.
The Bible is conclusive: Jesus Christ – the Word – was the God of the Old Testament who carried out the will of His Father - the Most High God (Genesis 14:22). The Father is also the Ancient of Days (Daniel 7:13).
John 10:29 My Father, who gave [the disciples to] me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
How amazing it is then to have the privilege of receiving the attention of, and being heard by our great Holy God! He is not going to condescend to our fleshly existence—instead, we shall be changed to His incorruption and immortality (1Corinthians 15:53).
1John 3:1-2 Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the Children of God… Beloved, now are we the Children of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.
Jesus has declared that God the Father’s Plan and Purpose will be fully accomplished in the converted Saints. In almost every Old Testament passage, the LORD YHVH—The Eternal—is Jesus Christ. Clearly, Jesus is the God of the Old Testament (1Corinthians10:4). During the Millennium, Jesus as Messiah—as Lord of lords and King of kings—will be exercising God the Father’s Will and authority over all the earth (Revelation 19:16). Jesus Christ is coming – not to establish His own dominion – but that of His Father who must remain above all until all enemies are done away with.
That chasm between The Father and things mortal must remain until this earth and everything in it is dissolved – otherwise His perfect righteousness and holiness would become tainted and compromised by touching the profane thing (Haggai 2:12-14).
Until those who live in the Millennium have been tried and tested, God the Father will reign through His Son, Jesus Christ. At the end of the thousand years there will be a time of thorough testing of all who have not had to deal with Satan. There is a warning here. In spite of Jesus’ glorious rule, a great many people will succumb to Satan’s deception:
Revelation 20:7-8 When the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
That final battle will take place at the very conclusion of the Millennium when the faithful of God will receive divine protection. At that point in time, Jesus will deal with all enemies of the Kingdom of God:
Revelation 20:9-10 [Gog and Magog] 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. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet were cast [a thousand years before], and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
Indeed, after the completion of the Great White Throne Judgment, the entire earth will dissolve and melt with fervent heat into one huge Lake of Fire and brimstone (2Peter 3:12). God's rule of peace and prosperity will prevail during the Great White Throne Judgment period. In Isaiah 65:20 we find that this judgment period will provide ample opportunity for all to come to conversion, and for Godly character to be acquired – or refused. It will be one way or the other. Those who will not have repented of their rebellion against God, and who will have rejected God and His way, will be cast into the Lake of Fire and die the second eternal death. Jesus said:
Revelation 21:8 The fearful [hypocrites with double-standards], and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
If we can infer anything at all from Ezekiel 9:4-5, it is that God will not be sparing the rebellious, godless enemies of His way of life and truth.
Matthew 25:41 Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.
This earth and everything in it will be totally consumed with everlasting fire—it will not be restored. The Saints will go over into the New Heaven and New Earth where righteousness prevails. Righteousness is God’s high standard to which men will be judged. God the Father is the ultimate Judge who has chosen the day when He will judge all things through Jesus Christ:
Acts 17:31 He has appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom He has ordained. (John 5:22)
That day will be the time when all judgment and salvation will be set in stone – there will be no more opportunity for repentance:
Revelation 22:10-11 He said unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
All those who will have accepted God's way of life will become glorified Saints and members of the God Family, and will live forever. After this Judgment period, only that which is purified and holy will remain. Everlasting righteousness will prevail upon the earth (Daniel 9:24). Only God is good, while nothing of this world can be compared to God’s goodness. Jesus Christ, in sinful carnal flesh, excluded Himself from the Father’s sole category of goodness (Romans 8:3):
Mark 10:18 Jesus said unto him, Why do you call me good? There is no one good but one, that is, God.
That separation between God’s Holiness and everything else must remain until the entirety of everything is purified. God the Father is spiritually pure, incorruptible, holy, and undefiled—He is the Holiest! After Satan, sin and death have been abolished—then, the Father will reign over the New Heavens and New Earth forever:
2Peter 3:13 We, according to His promise, look for New Heavens and aNew Earth, wherein dwells righteousness! [true goodness]
Man must be raised to the holiness of God—in His image and character—for God will not condescend to the level of sinful man:
Hebrews 12:14 Strive for peace with all men, and for holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
Jesus told His disciples, “If you have seen me – you have seen the Father.” It is Jesus who begins to established His Father’s reign on earth at the beginning of the Millennium. After the Millennium when all is purified by fire, God in His Holiness will, Himself, dwell in the New Heaven and New Earth.
Psalm 48:1-2 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the City of our God, in the mountain of His Holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the City of the Great King.
Revelation 21:27 There shall in no wise enter into [the Holy City] anything that defiles, neither whatsoever works abomination, or makes a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.
Jesus must reign, till He has put all enemies under His feet, and Satan is the primary enemy who will be dealt with for the final time at the end of the 1,000-year Millennium (Revelation 20:7-10). At the start of the Millennium Jesus will establish His Father’s Kingdom and rule from Jerusalem for a thousand years:
Revelation 19:6 I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigns.
Revelation 4:8 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
Because of His Holy Dignity, God the Father must remain at a distance from all corruption of mankind. The Father remained upon His throne in Heaven while Jesus walked the earth when Adam and Eve sinned (Genesis 3:8). During Jesus’ public ministry, the Father was inaccessible—you have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His shape (John 5:37). Even when Jesus rules during the Millennium until all evil and godless authority has been vanquished, nothing sinful will ever come into God’s holy presence and spoil or soil His flawless perfection. Because of man’s acquired sinful nature, God the Father will continue to rule through Jesus Christ until the time of the New Heaven and the New Earth. Until there is a fundamental transformation from human nature to divine nature, mankind’s very presence would defile God’s Holy Kingdom (2Peter 1:4).
1Corinthians 15:24 Then comes the end, when [Jesus] shall have delivered up the Kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
Jesus taught His disciples, “All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knows the Son, except the Father; neither knows any man the Father, except the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him” (Matthew 11:27; 28:18). And, that is the good news; Jesus has not only revealed the Father to us, He has reconciled us to the Father so that we may know Him - face to face.
Paul wanted to make it absolutely clear that Jesus Christ always remains in subjection to His Father. He does the will of His father, remaining subordinate to Him continuously. When Jesus became sinful flesh and died, He demonstrated His perfect willingness to continually yield to His Father:
Philippians 2:6 Christ Jesus, having essentially in the very nature of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited.
Jesus knew that He had come from the Father who had given all authority over into His hands for the duration of the world, and that He will return that authority to His Father when the Plan of God is realized (John 13:3; 16:28).
It is none other than the resurrected Saints, the Body of Christ, who are the fulfillment of the Plan of God. It was for this purpose—God reproducing Himself in His Children—that the heavens and earth were created. And, for this purpose—the expansion of the Family of God—that all will come under the purview of God the Father in the New Heavens and the New Earth where everything will be eternally all in all. This will be the greater fulfillment of all in all—in God the Father.
1Corinthians 15:27-28 [God the Father] has put all things under [Jesus’] feet. But when He says all things are put under Him, it is manifest that [the Father] is excepted, who did put all things under Him. And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son Himself also be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.
This is not saying that Jesus is not now subject to the Father – it is saying that after the Last Great Day and the Great White Throne Judgment is finished – then everything will be purified of sin, iniquity and death – and then God the Father will be all in all.
All in all, is an interesting term in the Bible. As we will note, it is a superbly all-inclusive phrase. There will be no more “us and them,” but a perfect Godly Family unity of total fulfillment and belonging, of happiness and peace, of harmony and togetherness, and of acceptance and love. It will be the culmination of the kingdoms of the old age having become the Kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign forever and ever. Not only will there be the Father and Jesus Christ alone on their eternal throne, but also all those resurrected Saints who overcame will also be granted to sit with Christ in His throne (Hebrews 1:8; Revelation 11:15; 3:21).
All in all, refers to the time when all things righteous will have come together within God’s sinless divine realm. During the course of sinful flesh, it was necessary that God the Father in His Holiest state be separate, and remain apart, from this sinful world and all that is in it (Romans 8:3). Within Scripture, the term “God” is inclusive of the Father and the Son in most cases. Being of the same Family, purpose, Spirit, mind, and the same exact divine character, there is never any conflict between the two divine Beings (Hebrews 1:3). God the Father and Jesus Christ are two distinct Beings, both of whom are rightly called “God.” Their work of creation is being done in perfect cooperation as a unified collaboration—the Father creating through the Son (Ephesians 3:9).
In our physically oriented world, it seems to us that God has gone to great lengths to create this magnificent earth and the starry heavens. God reveals that they are but a stepping-stone in His Great Plan.
Isaiah 51:6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be forever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.
All those who will not have become righteous resurrected Saints by the time of the Great White Throne final Judgment, will be cast into the Lake of Fire where the elements of the earth will be vaporized (2Peter 3:12; Revelation 20:15). Jesus spoke of the Day of God when those who never repented of their ways shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous Saints into life eternal. (Matthew 25:46):
Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
The apostle Paul quoted Psalm 45:6-7 and then spoke of the heavens and earth perishing:
Hebrews 1:8-12 Unto the Son [God the Father] says, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy Kingdom. You have loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore, God, even thy God, has anointed you [ordained you Messiah] with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. And, You, Lord, in the beginning have laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: They shall perish; but you remain; and they all shall wax old as does a garment; And as a vesture you shall fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou are the same, and your years shall not fail.
God prophesied in the Psalms that the heavens and earth shall pass away:
Psalm 102:25-28 Of old you have laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but you shall endure: yes, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shall you change them, and they shall be changed: But you are the same, and your years shall have no end. The children of thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before you.
The example of an insignificant caterpillar’s change into a stunning butterfly is a fit analogy of man and his resurrection. As incredible as the lustrous silk fiber of a butterfly’s cocoon is, it does not play a lasting role. The larva spends its time eating and growing, not knowing that it will emerge from the silk cocoon that was utilized as a temporary home during its metamorphosis, to becoming the most glorious of insects – adorned with exquisite wings and able to span oceans and continents. But the silk residence is cast aside having served its purpose. In the same way that the silk dwelling is discarded, this beautiful planet—the Earth—will be needless when God’s purpose for it is complete.
If the beautiful butterfly is an apt analogy, how will the resurrected Saints appear during the Millennium? We are not told how the Saints will appear while they are reigning and ruling with Jesus Christ. As a matter of fact, we are not told exactly how Jesus, Himself, will appear as He rules from His throne in Jerusalem. He cannot function with mortal men in His dazzling spiritual glory—for they would be burnt to a crisp and die (Exodus 33:20). How will Jesus manifest Himself as He rules from David’s throne at Jerusalem? He will probably appear as He did to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He will be composed of spirit but appear as He did in Genesis (Genesis 1:28; 2:16; 3:8-19). It seems fair to assume that Jesus and the Saints will appear during the Millennium just as Jesus, the God of the Old Testament, did when He wrestled with Jacob/Israel. He appeared as a normal man in his prime—perhaps about 30 years old (Genesis 32:24-28). The Saints too, in order to have the needed respect, authority and acceptance when teaching and counseling those people in the Millennium, cannot appear to be too young, or too old while instructing them in, “this is the way, walk ye in it” (Isaiah 30:21).
But, in the New Heavens and the New Earth, when the splendiferous glory of the Saints is finally made manifest, their splendid brilliance will shine forth as the brightness of the stars forever and ever.
Daniel 12:2-3 Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt (John 5:29). And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever.
We have seen that God intended that there be a rest for His people. He gave us the weekly Sabbath rest which is also a type of the Millennial rest (Hebrews 4:9).
Genesis 2:1-3 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. [The seventh day Sabbath is a prophecy of the Millennial rest.] And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it [God set it apart]: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made.
Speaking of the Sabbath Day God says:
Exodus 31:17 The Sabbath is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested, and was refreshed.
After the completion of the 1,000-year physical rest, the Day of God will inaugurate the everlasting spiritual rest of the Saints. God will dwell in both Zion and in the Saints of God – because they are one and the same!
Psalm 132:13-14 The LORD has chosen; He has desired it for His habitation. This is my rest forever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.
God was not exhausted and tired after six days of work. Yes, He rested on the seventh day, and ceased His work, but that was in order shine light on the Sabbath Day – making it Holy, and pointing in a prophetic way to the Millennium to come—foretelling of a greater rest in His Plan for mankind.
Exodus 20:11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day, and made it Holy.
Paul explained to the New Testament Church of God that the weekly Sabbath observance is yet mandatory—because we are still looking forward to the Millennial rest as well. The Greek language has no word for “a keeping of the Sabbath,” so Paul coined the new word Sabbatismos. When read in context, much of Chapters Three and Four of the Book of Hebrews speaks of the rest in the Promised Land, and by extension, the Millennial rest of God. Paul gives us his specific purpose statement for writing about the ultimate rest God has in store for those who are true believers:
Hebrews 4:1 Let us be in all due trepidation, lest, while The Promise being left us of entering into His rest remains, any of you should come short of entering it.
Here, Paul is warning Christians not to miss out on the resurrection and the 1,000-year Millennium. He doubles-down on the necessity of Sabbath observance—as that rest, more than anything else, points to the ultimate culmination of the Plan of God—the everlasting spiritual rest of the Saints:
Hebrews 4:4, 9 For He spoke in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all His works (Exodus 20:11)… There remains therefore a rest—a keeping of the Sabbath (Sabbatismos) for the people of God.
Though the earth is extremely old, Jesus Christ came to this earth as Emmanuel [God with us] about four-thousand years after Adam. And now it has been two-thousand years since the public ministry of Jesus Christ. In the same way that there are seven days in creation, there are seven-thousand years in the Plan of God for men. God, Himself, rested on that seventh day of creation – picturing the 1,000-year Millennial rest soon to begin. After the Millennium, the earth will be no more, but God will continue forever more to dwell in His Saints—and the Saints will dwell in God. The saints are an habitation of God (Ephesians 2:20-22).
Daniel 7:18 The Saints of the Most High God will receive the Kingdom and possess it forever, yes, forever and ever.
The stars in the night sky have remained essentially where they are now for centuries, if not millennia. How is it possible that they will be rearranged so suddenly? Isaiah gives us the first hint of all the heavens being reordered.
Isaiah 34:4 All the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll:
Surprisingly, the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll prior to the Millennium—it could happen at any moment! Christ’s second coming will be accompanied by cataclysmic events and astronomical alterations. The surprising thing is that this astronomical wonder is going to happen in the near future. This heavenly event will include the entire universe—which will be rolled up like a scroll—all the galaxies screaming toward one another.
Revelation 6:14 The heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together.
When the subject of the Tribulation comes up, the Church of God most often thinks of the inexpressible horrors mankind will suffer at the hands of the Beast and False Prophet. Indeed, Jacob’s Trouble will be unimaginably horrendous (Matthew 24:21; Jeremiah 30:7).
Most people do not realize just how violent the disastrous upheaval in the heavens and the earth will be immediately before Christ’s return:
Isaiah 34:8 It is the Day of the LORD's vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion.
Jesus will bring about heavenly signs for all the world to see in the last year of the 3½ year Tribulation. Isaiah describes an intolerable environment during the Tribulation:
Isaiah 34:9-10 The streams thereof shall be turned into tar, and the dust thereof into burning sulfur, and the land thereof shall become blazing pitch. The fire shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up forever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste.
The Heavenly signs will follow Satan’s wrath - but precede Christ's second coming. Everyone on earth shall see Christ coming in the clouds. Jesus said:
Mark 13:24-26 In those days, after that Tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.
God’s word speaks of incredible devastation and upheaval in the heavens, seas, and earth. After the Tribulation the nightly sky and the appearance of the landscape will little resemble what we know today. The heavenly constellations we recognize today will be seen no more, and the face of the earth will lie in ruin.
Isaiah 13:9-10 Behold, the Day of the LORD comes, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and He shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in its going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.
The sixth seal, Heavenly Signs, is opened between Satan’s wrath in the Tribulation and the Trumpet plagues that accompany Christ’s return. Jesus said:
Matthew 24:29-30 Immediately after the Tribulation of those days [Satan’s wrath of two and one half years] 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: 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. (Luke 21:26)
All these heavenly wonders with the stars falling to the earth occur just before the beginning of the Millennial rule of Jesus Christ. Even the tectonic plates riding on the earth’s mantle will be dislocated. The Heavenly Signs will mark the beginning of the astonishing wrath of the Lamb of God.
Revelation 6:12-17 I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casts her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. The heaven was torn apart / removed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places (Isaiah 34:4).
And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great Day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
When the people of the nation’s refuse to repent, God’s vengeance comes upon them. But they will live again at the Last Great Day – and they will remember that the LORD was serious about them living righteously – and then the great majority of mankind will repent and enter the Kingdom of God.
Why would Jesus need to rearrange the stars in the sky before He renews the face of the earth and establishes His Father’s Kingdom? Could the make-over be so thorough that even the starry sky will be renewed to its former state—like resetting a clock (Acts 3:19)? Will the earth be returned to a 360-day year as at creation? Will the length of a month be exactly 30 days? Will the constellations revert back to where they were at the creation of Adam and Eve and the re-creation of the earth? Does “New Heavens” mean that the universe will become capable of sustaining human life – unlike the lifeless universe we see today? The Church of God has long recognized that God’s Kingdom would reach to the stars (Isaiah 9:7). Indeed, the Saints and the entire universe have been waiting—groaning in travail together until the return of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:22). We will see shortly that Paul makes such a case.
Hebrews 1:10-12 Thou, Lord, in the beginning have laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: They shall perish; but you remain; and they all shall wax old as does a garment; and as a vesture shall you fold them up, and they shall be changed: but you are the same, and your years shall not fail. (Psalm 102:25-26)
What if the observable universe – that “appears” to be 14 billion light years across, is not expanding at all, but has been retracting all these years and is about to come together - rolled up like a scroll? The earnest expectation of all creation is only waiting for the manifestation of the Children of God (Romans 8:19-23). God the Father knows the day and the hour, as it is only a simple physics equation for Him to solve. He has a name and place for every star:
Isaiah 40:26 Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who has created these things, that brings out their host by number [as a shepherd who knows his flock (John 10:3)]: He calls them all by names by the greatness of His might, for that He is strong in power; not one fails.
As of this writing, it is thought that light reaching us from the earliest known galaxies has been traveling toward us for approximately 14 billion years. But, that means that our observable data is profoundly “out of date” by that much – even if it is being interpreted correctly. Because it takes so long for their light to reach the earth, many of the stars we observe no longer exist. Factoring in the supposed rate of expansion of the universe, of near light-speed, into the computer algorithms yields a truly astronomically staggering universe! Nonetheless, astronomers, building their resumes on exaggerated numbers, accept the accelerating rate of expansion – yielding a universe of nearly 50 billion light years radius – from our observatories to the outer edge of space. And, by assuming that the earth is somewhere near the center, their calculations yield a universe of 100 billion light years in diameter – many, many times larger than the observable Universe.
There was a point when light, time, matter, gravity, space and all else there might be came into existence (Genesis 1:1). All arguments aside, that was an act of our Creator God, because absolute nothing can come from absolutely nothing. With astronomer’s knowledge of the universe increasing rapidly, what scientists cannot understand is the strange phenomenon of how and why the universe is accelerating, and why it is accelerating at an increasing rate. Scientists have had to surmise that there are some things “dark” in space that do not emit or reflect light – but their gravitational interactions are very strong and getting stronger.
How can that be? These contrasting forces have been dubbed dark matter, with an earth-like gravitational field, and dark energy (phantom energy), an anti-gravitational repulsive force. In a nut-shell, because the observed “new data” does not comply with their “proven” laws of physics, scientists have had to hypothesize an undetectable massive phenomenon of invisible matter that outweighs the known universe!
Recognizing the validity of the old adage, “garbage in – garbage out,” means that poor quality input always produces dismal results. Even the norms of general and special relativity theories for space and time are being taxed by recent theories. Recent findings are so skewed from “proven” Einstein’s math that dark matter and dark energy have had to be “invented” for the equations to balance. So much so, that it is now believed that dark matter and dark energy make up a shocking 96 percent of the universe! Where Newtonian mechanics easily predicted the position and velocity of an object, not even quantum mechanics is able to explain what astronomers have recently “discovered” at the turn of the 21st century. This is the new science. The term "dark energy" was not even coined until 1998 by Michael Turner.
How do we reconcile what is “seen” in the heavens with God’s statement saying that the stars will be rolled up like a scroll at Christ’s return? That is a question we need to seriously consider.
Taken literally, the Bible evidence is that at some point in time, the observable universe must have begun to diminish. Imagine all the vast universe, unbeknownst to astronomers who are only able to observe the far distant past, screaming back together at the speed of light (Hebrews 1:10-12). Paul explains how creation has gotten entirely off-kilter, and will be reset to its former parameters:
Romans 8:19-23 The earnest expectation of the creation [of the entire universe and all that is in it] waits for the manifestation of the Children of God. For the creation was made subject to transientness, not willingly, but by reason of Him who has subjected the same in hope, because the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the Children of God. For we know that the entire creation groans and travails in pain [as in childbirth] together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the sonship [of the Father, huiothesia - verse 15], to wit, the redemption of our body.
The New Heavens and the New Earth are God’s answer to how the universe shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the Children of God (Romans 8:21).
As brilliant as our scientists, astronomers and physicists are, they are totally baffled by the latest scientific developments. Unsolved questions, uncertain observations and misconstrued discoveries hope to find their answers about deep space with the powerful James Webb Space Telescope, and the Subaru Telescope at Hawaii with the largest monolithic primary mirror in the world. These tools will challenge the veracity of the accepted phenomena of the redshift of galaxies, the theory of a four-dimensional space-time continuum expanding the fabric of space, the infrared temperatures of space and galaxies, and the question of what fills “empty” space – plasma, light, etc. Scientists and evolutionists also hope to find an answer to a God-less creation by delving into sub-atomic space as explored by the Large Hadron Collider. Every new discovery unlocks bigger and bigger questions. God’s creation is proving to be truly unfathomable.
Psalm 19:1-6 The heavens declare God's glory, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night shows knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.
Surprisingly, most of God’s universe is invisible. We cannot see gravity, electricity, heat, air and all its gasses, magnetism, sound, the vast spectrum of electromagnetic waves – including ultraviolet, infrared and radio waves. The list of invisible things is almost endless: Life, conscience, hunger, pain, sound, pleasure, sickness, thought, reasoning, emotions, atoms – let alone their electrons, neutrons and protons and sub-atomic parts, bacteria, viruses – because they are microscopically small – the spirit world, the future and the past. We cannot see hair growing - but we know that it does. Millions and millions of invisible cellphone signals are searching everywhere, and seeking just the right smart phone. Outer space is invisible, and so is the vast amount of dark matter within space—if dark matter, indeed exists. Scientists recently came up with “dark matter” to try to explain the inexplicable. Dark matter cannot fully explain how stars on the outer rim of galaxies travel so fast while distant galaxies are moving away from the center of the visible universe at an ever increasing acceleration, if indeed they are. Humans are made of baryonic matter. Baryonic matter includes protons, neutrons and all the objects composed of them (i.e. atomic nuclei), but exclude things such as electrons and neutrinos which are actually leptons. It is now believed in astronomy and cosmology, that only a small proportion of the dark matter in the universe is likely to be baryonic. The invisible things of God make up an endless and incredibly complex universe—so impossibly complex that man has yet to figure it out, let alone replicate even a tiny part of His creation. All of these invisible things should help us see the invisible attributes of God:
Ninety-nine point nine percent – the greater part of matter in the universe, is plasma – ionized gas consisting of positive ions and free electrons. Scientists now estimate that between 95% and 96% of the physical matter in the universe is invisible—with only 4% to 5% being visible. (Atlas of Space, 2018 National Geographic p.95). Speaking of God’s spiritual realm:
Romans 1:20 The invisible things of God are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are created, even His eternal power and Divinity.
Hebrews 11:1 Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
God’s vast spiritual realm is totally invisible to human eyes—but that does not negate the reality of its genuine existence (2Kings 6:16-17).
Scientists cannot understand the gravitational attraction of dark matter, or the mysterious dark energy which repels like some sort of a negative energy. There is just not enough observable matter in a spiral galaxy to cause it to perform as it does. However, with our powerful telescopes we are able to "see" areas in galaxies where the space-time continuum is warped – bending the light passing through their areas. In the same way that there is no life without God, could it be that there is a spiritual component at the foundation of the universe? An unseen spiritual element explains everything:
Hebrews 1:3 …Jesus Christ upholds the universe by the word of His power.
Colossians 1:17 He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together.
Accompanying the Heavenly Signs announcing the intervention of Jesus Christ, God will shake this earth to its very core to persuade its nations to repent. Thus begins the Day of the Lord. There will be many devastating earthquakes, but one will be so powerful in magnitude that it will go right off the Richter scale—total catastrophe!
Revelation 6:12 I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake.
We have seen massive earthquakes but this shaking will exceed anything the earth has ever witnessed since before the time of Adam and Eve!
Revelation 16:18 …There [will be] a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great!
Jesus will shake Babylon the great; He shall put down all the proud and lofty; He shall crush the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man; and He shall put down all rule, all authority and power (1Corinthians 15:24).
Isaiah 2:12, 17-19 The day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low …and the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. And the idols He shall utterly abolish. And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of His majesty, when He arises to shake terribly the earth. (Luke 23:30; Hosea 10:8; Revelation 6:15-17)
This will take place as Christ begins to bring His wrath on the world one-thousand years before God creates the New Heavens and New Earth. As the Millennium begins, the earth will have been knocked off its axis – altering its orbit:
Isaiah 13:9-13 Behold, the Day of the LORD comes… For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine… Therefore, I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall be removed out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of His fierce anger.
The very footing of what makes this evil world go ’round will be eviscerated. The world, as we know it, of class distinctions, syndicates, guilds, prisons, elitists, dignitaries, dominions, caste systems, and brutal supremacies will soon be shaken to its very core (Matthew 20:25).
Isaiah 24:19-23 The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again. And it shall come to pass in That Day, that the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth. And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited. Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before His ancients gloriously.
The Prophet Zechariah revealed that a great earthquake would split the Mount of Olives in two at Christ’s coming in the Day of the Lord:
Zechariah 14:1-4 Behold, the Day of the LORD comes, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
There will be a sudden violent upheaval announcing Jesus’ return:
Mark 13:24-26 [Jesus said] In those days, after that Tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.
The sixth seal of Revelation gives us the heavenly signs and tremendous earthquakes (Revelation 6:12-13). This will occur just prior to the second and personal coming of Jesus Christ in great power. Massive tsunamis will sweep the oceans as a result of the earthquakes in the deep. Jesus said that the stars would fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
Luke 21:25-26 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
In the Old Testament it was prophesied that a great earthquake would proclaim the coming of the great and terrible Day of the Lord:
Joel 2:10-11 The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: And the LORD shall utter His voice before His army: for His camp is very great: for He is strong that executes His word: for the Day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?
Paul explains that God is going to shake everything so hard that only those with the most ardent faith will survive. The shaking of the heavens and earth is God’s way of speaking from heaven:
Hebrews 12:22-25 See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they escaped not who refused [Moses] who spoke on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from Him that speaks from heaven: Whose voice then shook the earth: but now He has promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifies the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving an un-shakable Kingdom, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and Godly respect: For our God is a consuming fire.
Just before Jesus returns in power and great glory He will shake the earth:
Psalm 18:7 Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills/heaven moved and were shaken, because He was angry (2Samuel 22:8).
In the third year of the Tribulation, Jesus Christ will destroy the whole land.
Isaiah 13:4-6 The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people; a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together: the LORD of hosts musters the host of the battle. They come from a far country, from the end of heaven, even the LORD, and the weapons of His indignation, to destroy the whole land. Howl ye; for the Day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.
The LORD’s wrath against Nineveh foreshadowed His wrath at His second coming.
Nahum 1:3-6 The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD has His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet. He rebukes the sea, and makes it dry, and dries up all the rivers: Bashan languishes, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languish. The mountains quake at Him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at His presence, yes, the world, and all that dwell therein. Who can stand before His indignation? And who can abide in the fierceness of His anger? His fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by Him.
When Jesus begins to shake the foundations of this earth there will be a whole lot of shaking going on. The literal earth shaking events begin with the sixth seal – the Heavenly Signs. Satan’s goal is to cause man to reject God and thwart the Plan of God, which is—mankind becoming the very immortal Children of God. That is what Satan’s Tribulation is about. Jesus speaks of shaking the heavens and earth in the last year of the three and one half year Tribulation – The Day of the Lord:
Matthew 24:29-30 Immediately after the Tribulation of those days [Satan’s wrath of two and one half years] 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: 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.
Great distress will come upon the nations with the shaking of the heavens and earth, but God’s true servants will be spared the ordeal:
Joel 3:15-16 The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of His people, and the strength of the children of Israel.
Isaiah 13:13 Therefore I will cause the heavens to tremble, and the earth will be shaken out of its place, at the wrath of the Lord of hosts in the day of His fierce anger.
The sixth seal describes violent pandemonium in the heavens and major earthquakes spread over the entire face of the earth. The sixth seal introduces the seventh seal—the one-year long wrath of the Lord (Isaiah 34:8). The sixth seal divides Satan’s part of the Tribulation from the Day of the Lord’s wrath, the last year of the Tribulation – the seventh seal (Acts 2:19-20). The seventh seal consists of the seven trumpets, each signaling a massive, earth-shattering cataclysm (Revelation 8:1-2).
God is going to shake the earth powerfully and more furiously than since He created man—and there have been some huge earthquakes. The intense New Madrid, Missouri earthquake of 1811–12 had a fault system 150-miles long extending into five states. It stretched from Cairo, Illinois southward into Arkansas with a violent magnitude of 7.5–7.9. Newspapers of the day reported that the series of earthquakes affected an area ten times larger than the magnitude 7.8 San Francisco earthquake of 1906. The New Madrid quake caused the ground to rise and fall like waves going out which rang church bells in Charleston, South Carolina on the East Coast, and knocked down brick chimneys in Cincinnati, Ohio. The earth beneath the Mississippi River heaved, causing it run backward for several hours with huge waves. The most powerful earthquake on record is a magnitude 9.5 quake in Chile in 1960. The Chilean earthquake generated a powerful tsunami that crossed the Pacific Ocean, killing people in Hawaii, Japan, and the Philippines. The Psalmist records a similar commotion accompanying the Exodus of Israel and involving the sea, hills and Jordan River:
Psalm 114:3-7 The sea saw it, and fled: Jordan River was driven backward. The mountains skipped like rams, and the little hills like lambs. What ailed thee, O thou sea, that thou fled? Thou Jordan, that thou was driven back? Ye mountains, that ye skipped like rams; and ye little hills, like lambs? Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob.
The magnitude of these historic earthquakes will pale into insignificance when the Lord shakes the earth soon:
Haggai 2:6-7 Thus says the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, says the LORD of hosts.
God has written so very much about the heavens falling, the oceans roaring, and the earth being removed. His ample warnings indicate how great an event it will be. The writer of Psalm 46 places the shaking of the earth in context with the establishment of the Millennial temple at Jerusalem:
Psalm 46:1-8 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof be tumultuous and boil, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the City of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: He uttered his voice, the earth melted. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations He has made in the earth.
The great day of the wrath of the Lamb is come and no one will be able to stand against Him. Jesus is coming soon, and it will not be what most people are expecting or hoping for. The wrath of God is coming against all evil lawless men. Jesus will eradicate all ungodliness and the unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth of God. Jesus is coming to prepare this earth for His Millennial rule. He is coming in retribution against this earth for its treatment of His saints. Jesus will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible (Isaiah 13:11).
Revelation 6:15-17 The kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And they said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
Why would a loving God be angry? It is because He has a beautiful Plan for mankind that is disrupted by evil lawless men and their governments. When sinful man has had every opportunity to appreciate his Creator God and does not do so, Jesus will return in great power to prepare the earth for those who will avail themselves of His blessings in the Millennium. When the wrath of the Lamb is finished, there will be only a small percentage of this earth’s population left alive. The apostle Paul speaks often of the wrath of God. We are given many particulars of what is entailed:
Romans 1:18 The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth by their unrighteousness.
Ephesians 5:6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things comes the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
Colossians 3:6 For which things' sake the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience.
During the Tribulation, those who worship the Beast and his image, and receive his mark on their forehead, or on their hand shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God:
Revelation 14:10, 19 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 in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb… The angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.
We find God’s wrath being poured out in the Day of the Lord:
Revelation 15:1, 7 I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God… One of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who lives for ever and ever.
The seven golden vials contain the final plagues of the wrath of God:
Revelation 16:1 I heard a great voice out of the Temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.
The Lord’s wrath will come upon all ungodly men. Here are a few of the Scriptures from the Old Testament:
Joel 1:15 Alas for the day! For the Day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come (Isaiah 13:6).
The saints of the Church of God will be protected in God's Place of Safety during the three and a half years of wrath – the last year being the Lord’s wrath:
Zephaniah 2:3 Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have worked His judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be you shall be hidden in the day of the LORD’s anger.
We come to the resurrection of the Saints in Revelation 14 as the wrath of God continues (verses 19-20). In Revelation 15 we see the seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God – but they are not poured out just yet (Revelation 16:17). We see the resurrected Saints standing before the Throne of God the Father. John reports:
Those resurrected Saints who stand on the sea of glass are spared the wrath of God. The dead in Christ will rise first, and those who are alive and converted will follow. They will meet Jesus in the air and proceed to the marriage of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7)
On the Feast of Trumpets, the Saints will return to earth as Christ's vast heavenly army of spirit beings to defeat the Beast and False Prophet in the Valley of Jehoshaphat (Revelation 19:14; Joel 3:1-2; Zechariah 14:1-5) and help establish God's Kingdom over all the earth.
Revelation 15:2-3 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. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, you King of Saints (Exodus 24:9-11). This brings us to the time of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb in heaven (Revelation 19:1, 7-9).
Chapter 16 of Revelation shows the seven vials of the wrath of God being poured out one by one. The Saints are on the sea of glass being called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. The last vial brings the deeds of great Babylon into remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of God’s wrath (Revelation 16:7–19:2). This brings us to the two suppers—one good, the other to be avoided at all cost: The Marriage Supper of the Lamb, and the dreadful supper of the great God, of which Zephaniah speaks:
Zephaniah 1:7 Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord GOD: for the Day of the LORD is at hand: for the LORD has prepared a sacrifice, He has bid His guests [To the supper of the Great God – Revelation 19:17-21].
This verse will be fulfilled When Jesus, accompanied by His Saints on white horses, sacrifices the guests themselves who are bidden to the supper of the Great God (Revelation 19:14, 17-18).
Revelation 19:17, 21 I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the Great God …And the remnant were slain with the sword of [Jesus Christ] that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of His mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.
The wrath of God will not be complete until after the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, when Jesus Christ as King of kings, and Lord of lords has deposed of the Beast, and them that worshipped his image, including kings, captains, might men and nations. God’s wrath will be comprehensive in nature:
Jeremiah 25:31 A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the LORD has a controversy with the nations, He will plead with all flesh.
Isaiah 34:1-2 Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, ye people: let the earth hear, and all that is therein; the world, and all things that come forth of it. For the indignation of the LORD is upon all nations, and His fury upon all their armies: He has utterly destroyed them, He has delivered them to the slaughter.
The Prophet Daniel spoke of Jesus – as a stone cut without hands. He gives us the picture of Jesus Christ coming in great power against all the kingdoms of this earth. God revealed through Daniel what shall be in the latter days (Daniel 2:28). Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar that all the kingdoms of the earth would be pulverized at Christ’s return:
Daniel 2:34-35 You saw till that a stone [Christ] was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. [Until] they became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carries them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone [Christ] that smote the image became a great mountain [Kingdom of God], and filled the whole earth.
Jesus Christ will establish the Kingdom of His Father over all the earth in the Day of the Lord as the Millennium begins:
Daniel 2:44-45 In the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a Kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the Kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Forasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the Great God has made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.
The apostle John describes Daniel’s prophecy of this same earth shattering event in this way:
Revelation 19:15 Out of [Jesus’] mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
The Book of Zephaniah shows that in the last year of the Tribulation, while a part of the Church is hidden in the Place of Safety (Zephaniah 2:3), in the Day of the Lord – just prior to Jesus establishing His Father’s Kingdom over the whole earth for the Millennial Rest (Zephaniah 3:17) – the haughty and proud shall be purged by fire and taken away (Zephaniah 3:11). Zephaniah’s message was for ancient Judah first but it is archetypical of the Day of the Lord’s wrath. Everything that is a part of this entire evil world will be consumed by the fire of God:
Zephaniah 3:8-9 Therefore wait ye upon me, says the LORD, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy. For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve Him with one consent.
Peter speaks of two great fires which will consume this earth. There are two clearly defined occurrences described in the Bible which reveal that the entire earth will be enmeshed in fiery conflagrations. The two are easily confused with one another, but Peter distinguishes between the two. The world takes no notice of the differentiation between the Kingdom of God—ruled by Jesus Christ during the Millennium—and the Kingdom of God in the New Heavens and New Earth. That confusion arises first of all, because the world cares little about the Plan of God, and secondly, because sometimes prophetic writings are dual in nature – applying equally to both the coming of Jesus Christ and the time of the New Heavens and New Earth – one-thousand years later.
The first inferno will take place at the beginning of the Day of the Lord at Jesus second coming. The second fire will sweep the earth 1,000 years later at the conclusion of the Great White Throne Judgment.
2Peter 3:10 The Day of the Lord will come …in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
Peter shows that a second blazing firestorm will engulf the earth for the arrival of the Day of God—ushering in the New Heaven and the New Earth.
2Peter 3:12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the Day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
Peter does not repeat, “the elements shall melt with fervent heat,” for emphasis. Those two phrases are clearly set apart by when they will occur – the first, at the Day of the Lord, and the second, one-thousand years later at the Day of God and the New Heavens and New Earth. This Revelation to Peter is so stark and dire that Peter is compelled to declare that these all-consuming devastations will not eradicate God’s Covenant promise—despite the earth being melted by fervent heat. What was God’s promise? It was the promise Jesus Christ made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David and all the prophets. It is the promise of countless children to Abraham, as the stars of the heaven, and as sand which is upon the sea shore (Genesis 13:16; Genesis 15:5). Eternal life is a part of that promise! Knowing that the Plan of God will definitely go on, Peter seems to wonder how God will work it all out, and he says in faith:
2Peter 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for New Heavens and a New Earth, wherein dwells righteousness.
The earth in its present configuration will last only long enough for righteous men and women of the of the Great White Throne Judgment to become resurrected Saints—then comes the end when the earth will no longer exist—and God the Father will create the New Heavens and a New Earth (Isaiah 65:17):
Revelation 20:11 I saw a Great White Throne, and Him [Jesus Christ] that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
Think of our beautiful planet in orbit – the blue earth against the background of space! It seems like such a loss to us that the earth will have fled away as a great lake of fire – to exist no more. What is next in the Plan of God?
There will be an incredible moment when this present physical earth and sky will cease to exist—and, an even more astonishing moment when the spiritual New Heaven and New Earth will supersede the old. Indeed, Jesus called it the Last Great Day of the Feast (John 7:37). It should be celebrated as the greatest of the Feast Days, in that God’s work in bringing many sons and daughters to Glory will finally culminate in Eternal Life. The entirety of mankind should revel in anticipation of this earth-shattering event. Everything will be entirely new Revelation 21:5)! This extraordinary instant in time should be looked forward to by the world with eager expectation. Why does the world little note, nor know what God has revealed here? Why does the world not take note of such a momentous occurrence? It is like Abraham Lincoln's memorable words in the Gettysburg Address, “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work…” But, in Abraham Lincoln's case, the world did note, and long remembered.
We strain to imagine the spiritual things which are with God in heaven. We know that this physical world in which we reside is only a temporary shadow’s counterpart of the reality which exists in heaven. We know of the grand things like the Father’s throne with all its accoutrements, down to the smallest herb of the field. They exist spiritually in heaven (Genesis 2:5; Romans 1:20). The heavenly Tree of Life will be transplanted into the soil of the New Earth—and it will yield its fruit—Eternal Life. On this Eighth Day, God is moving lock, stock and barrel from heaven above, to the New Heavens and the New Earth—and He will bring everyone with Him—the entire City, all the Saints (Revelation 21:2-3).
Revelation 21:1 I saw a New Heaven and a New Earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
It is much more than a coincidence that right here in this narrative, Peter inserts the principle that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years! Peter is making the point – for those who have the eyes to see – that there will be one-thousand years between 2Peter 3:10 and 2Peter 3:12.
2Peter 3:7-9 The heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the Day of Judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord does not delay concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
Heavens is plural in this verse – meaning both where the birds fly and the stars shine. In addition to those two physicals heavens, there is God’s throne in heaven (Revelation 4:2). The thing that is “New” in this concept is that everything physical, of which man is aware, will be replaced with God’s timeless and dimensionless spiritual realm of which the last two chapters of the Bible speak.
The physical creation that ended on the sixth day was very good (Genesis 1:31). The completion of the work of Jesus Christ will bring righteousness to God’s spiritual creation. At the end of the seventh day God will see everything that He has made, and, behold, it will be very, very good.
The Day of the Lord will arrive at the Second Coming of Christ. The earth will be purged of all evil works (1John 3:8), but it will not cease to exist then – but will be renewed like the Garden of Eden (Isaiah 51:3). Peter interjects the concept of one-thousand years into his discourse. He does so because there are one-thousand years of Christ’s rule on earth between the Day of the Lord, and the Day of God when all who have ever lived will have had the occasion to come to repentance. At the conclusion of the 1,000-year Millennium and the Great White Throne Judgment, the New Heavens and a New Earth will come. Once the dead are judged, every man according to their works, there is no more need of the old earth.
All men will have become either a resurrected Saint, or cast into the lake of fire and burnt up (Revelation 20:13-15). We must distinguish the very subtle differences [in the meanings of] between 2Peter 3:10 and 2Peter 3:12. The two verses are very similar, but describe two separate events! Verse 10 will occur unexpectedly for most of the world with the coming of the Day of the Lord in the last year of the Tribulation (1Thessalonians 5:2).
2Peter 3:10 The Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
Peter knew the prophecies of the Old Testament well (2Peter 3:2). He knew that in the Day of the LORD at the return of Jesus Christ the whole land shall be devoured by fire.
Zephaniah 1:14-18 The Great Day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hastes greatly [looking earnestly], even the voice of the Day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of waste-ness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers. And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the Day of the LORD's wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of His jealousy: for He shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.
The apostle Peter understood that there would be two occasions of all-encompassing fire and unprecedented world upheaval—separated by 1,000 years. The first occasion of devastating fire would be associated with the Day of the Lord. Jesus will send ravaging fire and extraordinary natural disaster on the nations as an inducement to repentance. The second and last instance of conflagration will be the all-inclusive inferno after the Great White Throne Judgment, and prior to the New Heaven and the New Earth.
Most of us are familiar with some of the prophetic principles that God incorporates, such as a day for a year substitution to make His point (Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:6). We have long understood how God uses an expansion of that principle, a day for one-thousand years, so that His seven-day creation week represents the entirety of His seven-thousand-year Plan of God.
Psalm 90:4 For a thousand years in thy sight are but as a day that has just gone by...
Peter is presenting a “stir to action” to the Church. He is saying, “Time is running out for you.” “For the sake of our conversion we need to make hay while the sun shines.” “The Lord is longsuffering toward us – but we had better not press our luck” (2Peter 3:9). Considering that the earth will not long endure, what kind of people should we be in all holy conduct and Godliness (2Peter 3:11)?” In fact, Peter is paraphrasing much of Psalm 90 in this discourse:
Psalm 90:12 Teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
Man is being tested for 7,000-years – certainly to prove to God that he will always put God first, but he is also being tested to learn that man’s ways of ruling on earth always come short—will not be successful, and will ultimately fail.
Jeremiah 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.
Jesus Christ is going to return by fire. During the Millennium, the ashes beneath their feet will be a stark reminder of how God deals with the wicked. This will be the result of the 1st fire at Jesus’ return.
Malachi 4:1, 3 Behold, the day comes, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the Day that comes shall burn them up, says the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch… And you shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, says the LORD of hosts.
For six-thousand years, mankind has been in continuous disobedience to God, justifying wickedness, and in rebellion against his Creator. When God begins to intervene, it will be decisive. God’s judgment always comes upon all who sin if they will not repent (Jeremiah 18:8, 10). Why will Jesus send this great fire on all nations? The answer is because it is one of His great principles to recompense evil, be exalted in judgment, and God who is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness (Isaiah 5:16):
Isaiah 5:20, 24-25 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness… Therefore, as the fire devours the stubble, and the flame consumes the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. Therefore, is the anger of the LORD kindled against His people, and He has stretched forth His hand against them, and has smitten them: and the hills did tremble, and their carcasses were torn in the midst of the streets. For all this His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still. [God’s wrath will not abate until all is consumed.]
2Thessalonians 1:6-8 It is a righteous thing with God to recompense Tribulation to them that trouble you; and to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed 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:
It is a righteous thing with God to recompense Tribulation to them that trouble His people. Jesus said of wars:
Matthew 24:6 You shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that you be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
A vivid anecdotal example of God’s wrath against cruelty and brutality can be seen in God’s judgment on Germany and Japan—who sought to deny God’s promised blessings to Abraham—in WWII. Using one nation against another is not unprecedented in the Scriptures. God raised up Assyria to deport the northern kingdom of Israel, and Babylon to vanquish the southern kingdom of Judah. The modern Israelitish nations of the United States and Great Britain were the tools in God’s hands to exact His retribution on those war-like nations. Germany was bombed into complete submission—with many of its major cities reduced mostly to charred rubble by incendiary bombs.
The city of Dresden, and the iconic image of its famous burned-out landmark, the Church of Our Lady in ruins, is known worldwide as a symbol of the fiery destruction of World War II. Of the death camps belonging to the Axis powers, such as Auschwitz, Treblinka and multiple others, this writer has visited the holocaust ovens and crematoriums of Dachau, Germany, which attest to man’s recent inhumanity to man and the mercilessness of Nazi persecution, extermination and murder of six million Jews, twenty-four million Russians and six million Poles, roughly one fifth of the pre-war population of Poland. Across the world the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the target of the fiercest nuclear weapons ever unleashed on a people in the hopes of bringing the war to a quick conclusion. World War II was a diminutive taste of the fire of God’s wrath that will be unleashed on this earth (2Thessalonians 1:8). God says:
Jeremiah 6:18-19 Hear, ye nations, and know, O congregation, what is among them. Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it.
The fiery wrath of God against the whole earth – in the last year of the Tribulation – just prior to the Millennium is noticeably represented in the pages of the Book of Revelation as Christ’s intervention:
Revelation 8:5 The angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.
Revelation 8:7-8 The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up. And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood.
Revelation 8:10 The third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters.
Revelation 9:17-18 ...Out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths.
Revelation 16:8-9 The fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, who has power over these plagues: and they repented not to give Him glory.
Babylon the great is punished with fire:
Revelation 18:8, 18 Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judges her… [They stood afar off], and cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, “What city is like unto this great city!”
Jesus Christ’s return will be accompanied by fire:
Isaiah 66:15-16 Behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with His chariots like a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by His sword will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many.
Jesus told Peter and the disciples that fire and brimstone would accompany His return:
Luke 17:26, 29-30 As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man... But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man [Jesus Christ] is revealed.
Jude 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.
2Peter 2:6 Turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly.
The earth will be cleansed prior to the Millennial rule of Christ, and replaced in the Day of God by a New Earth.
We have been looking at the Day of the Lord that begins in the Tribulation. On the other hand, the Day of God will take place a thousand years later, not surprisingly, after the Millennium and the Great White Throne Judgment, and just prior to the New Heavens and the New Earth. We saw:
2Peter 3:10 The Day of the Lord will come …in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
Peter distinguishes between the Day of the Lord in 2Peter 3:10, and the Day of God in 2Peter 3:12 with the phrase, “being on fire shall be dissolved.” Peter had to differentiate between the two fires. Peter here describes the 2nd fire:
2Peter 3:12 Looking [anticipating] for and hasting [looking earnestly] unto the coming of the Day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved [destroyed, loosed and broken], and the elements shall melt [liquefy] with fervent heat.
The second inferno will take place at the beginning of the Day of God at the very end of the Millennium—ushering in the New Heaven and the New Earth. Peter speaks of a second fiery destruction – the 2nd fire, but this time it will be much greater—the total annihilation of everything physical and mortal—so great that the old heavens and earth will disappear entirely and no longer exist. Peter gives us one of the few views that we have of the transitional time between the Great White Throne Judgment and the New Heavens and a New Earth. Peter tells us that the heavens and the elements will burn up, dissolve and melt away. The majestic mountain ranges, the immense plains, and the cities of every nation will depart. Peter names this final obliteration of the universe, the “Day of God” to distinguish it from the preceding “Day of the Lord.”
Paul speaks of the 2nd fire that occurs at the final Judgment of the Great White Throne when the spiritually dead will be judged with everlasting destruction in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:12-15):
2Thessalonians 1:7-10 …When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed 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 (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
It will be the Day of God which paves the way for the New Heavens and a New Earth. We will note that the fire and fervent heat that follow after the 1,000-year-long Millennium and Great White Throne Judgment are much hotter and more extensive than the fire that accompanies the Day of the Lord. Peter gives Christians the action step for salvation by appealing to their sense of a glorious eternity—beyond the day when the earth will have melted away:
2Peter 3:11-13 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what sort of persons ought you to be in all holy conduct and Godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the Day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for New Heavens and a New Earth, wherein dwells righteousness.
Then comes the end. The time will have come when Christ shall have delivered up the Kingdom to God, even the Father (1Corinthians 15:24). There must needs be a conveyance of all things back to God the Father.
On earth, the Plan for mankind began in a veritable paradise, and it will end in God’s paradise in the New Heavens and the New Earth (2Corinthians 12:4). The Father created all things by and through Jesus Christ until such time that all who are sanctified will be perfected (Hebrews 10:14). Jesus will be subject to His Father’s will, and the resurrected Saints will serve God, and He that sits on the throne shall dwell among them (Revelation 7:15).
John the Baptist had explained that there would be only two courses of action that men might take: A person can either become a Spirit being, or be plunged into the eternal fire that consumes everything at the Day of God. Speaking of Jesus Christ, John the Baptist said of Jesus:
Matthew 3:11-12 … He shall baptize you with [either] Holy Spirit, or with fire. Whose fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat [Saints] into the garner; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. (Luke 3:17).
God’s eternal judgment is a key doctrine of Christ (Hebrews 6:1-2).
Revelation 20:14-15 Death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
The Scriptures do not tell us a great deal about the transition from a physical earth to the spiritual New Heaven and New Earth in the eternal Kingdom of God. We need to answer the question of what takes place between the conclusion of the Great White Throne Judgment and the establishment of the New Heaven and New Earth. Satan will have deceived the nations:
Jude 1:6 The angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
At the end of the thousand years, Satan and the demons' fate is to be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone (Revelation 20:10). This is when all the earth is burned up. From before the face of Jesus Christ the earth and the heaven have fled away; and there was found no place for them (Revelation 20:11).
Revelation 20:7-8 When the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
This will be the most massive cleansing ever:
Revelation 20:9-10 [Gog and Magog] 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. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet were cast, and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Isaiah 4:4 When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.
The creation of this earth that we call home was never meant to last all throughout eternity. As we saw before, Paul explains that even the physical universe that we see about us was also not to last forever:
Romans 8:20-21 For the creation [the entire universe] was made subject to transientness, not willingly, but by reason of Him who has subjected the same in hope [of the resurrection to eternal life], because the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the Children of God.
Creation will finally be delivered from the bondage of corruption at the Day of God, the time when the New Heavens and New Earth are established. Prior to that time, everything must be totally purged and purified in preparation for the transfer from the authority and rule of Jesus Christ to God the Father. The handover from Jesus to God the Father cannot take place until after the memory of all sin and corruption is extinguished forever:
Isaiah 65:17 Behold, I create New Heavens and a New Earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.
Not only sin, but even the memory of our sins will be eradicated. Nothing irreverent, whether it be caused by wrongdoing, sin or iniquity, can ever come into God’s perfect Holy Presence. God set forth His high standard by placing an impenetrable barrier between Himself and the profane (Leviticus 10:10). Speaking of the Holy City, New Jerusalem:
God knows the end from before the beginning. God Planned the end before the beginning. Actually the “end” of all this creation we see about us will be the beginning of an endless eternity. Peter spoke of the coming day when the earth as we know it would burn up—dissolve:
2Peter 3:7 The heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
Peter rhetorically asks the question, “What is in store for this earth?” He talks about an overview of the earth’s existence beginning with God dividing the seas from the dry land and the heavens (Genesis 1:6-10). Peter points out that as permanent and secure as that scenario must have seemed – God caused it to perish in Noah’s flood. Peter was laying the groundwork to say that earth’s destruction is going to happen repeatedly. First, the earth was destroyed in Satan’s rebellion, and was then restored for Adam and Eve. Secondly, Peter shows that the earth was destroyed at the time of Noah’s flood.
2Peter 3:5-6 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
Peter goes on to refer to the aftermath of the flood and how through the sons of Noah – Shem, Ham and Japheth, humanity thrived in a revived environment that persists to this day—even the same heavens and earth that we see today.
There are many names and titles of God that apply equally to God the Father and His pre-incarnate Son, Jesus Christ, because they constantly work in concert and harmony with one another – though at times, they distinguish between their respective roles (John 14:6). “Almighty God” can signify God the Father or Jesus Christ or both, depending on the context. They share one Spirit, one Eternal Life, and one and the same Family name, Elohim (Ephesians 4:4). It should come as no surprise that these two divine Beings most often share the same names and titles of one another such as Almighty, Eternal, Lord, Most High, God and Lord of Hosts.
Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the Great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.
Jesus said, “If you have seen me you have seen the Father” (John 14:9). Bold words? Not at all, because Jesus perfectly represents the Father because in Christ dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9). They work together in everything – even to Christ’s death on the cross, and His resurrection by the Father (Ephesians 1:17-20). Jesus did not raise Himself – He was resurrected by His Father in the exceeding greatness of His power (Ephesians 1:19).
Many times Jesus affirmed that the words that He spoke were not His own – but those the Father gave unto Him (John 7:16; 8:28 14:10). Can we accept that when Jesus spoke, He spoke the Father’s words, and when Jesus was spoken of with names relegated unto the Father – it was not improper because Jesus was in the Father’s stead – speaking everything that the Father commanded Him to speak:
John 3:34 He whom God has sent speaks the words of God: for God gives not the Spirit by measure unto Him.
The Psalmist reflected that when God the Father was provoked; Jesus Christ was equally provoked! Elyon is the Father – and He is the Most High God, El Elyon, of Elohim which includes Jesus Christ. Psalm 78:56 includes both God Beings:
Psalm 78:56 They tempted and provoked the Most High [Elyon] God [Elohim plural noun], and kept not His testimonies.
Jesus Christ and the Father are YHVH. Psalm 102:22, 25 shows clearly that it was YHVH who laid the foundation of the earth, and we know that to be Jesus (Hebrews 1:2-3).
Psalm 110:4-6 The LORD (YHVH) has sworn, and will not repent, You [Jesus Christ] are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 7:1-28). The Lord (Adonai – a plural of majesty) at your right hand shall strike through kings in the day of His [Jesus Christ] wrath. He shall judge among the heathen…
Jesus is the Son of God Most High (Luke 1:32; 8:28; Mark 5:7). Jesus was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil and take away our sins (1John 3:5, 8). We see Jesus’ capabilities, His position and His character.
God the Father, the Most High God, has always been over everything (Ephesians 4:6). Everything that was done in the Old Testament through the One Who became Jesus Christ was done according to the will of the Most High God. Jesus said He did nothing that was not the will of God.
The pre-incarnate Jesus Christ, God of the Old Testament, revealed His Covenant name to Moses as “LORD” [Hebrew Yahweh] (Exodus 6:2). It is a personal name, YHVH, signifying that He is the ETERNAL ONE who does not change (Malachi 3:6). Jesus had previously appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, by the name of “God Almighty” [Hebrew El Shaddai] (Exodus 6:3). We cannot but scratch the Biblical surface of the many, many names and titles that demonstrate that until the Day of God, Jesus is the being who continuously and perfectly represented His Father’s will on earth (1Corinthians10:4). The title "Christ the Lord" would probably have been said as “Messiah Adonai” in the Aramaic that these shepherds of Bethlehem spoke. This shows that this baby Jesus was not only the promised Messiah, but also the One known as "the LORD" in the Old Testament (Luke 2:11).
Isaiah utilizes names for Jesus that might as easily be applied to the Father:
Isaiah 9:6 Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Psalm 68:5 Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in His holy habitation.
Jesus and the Father are One Spirit. That means that they are closer than words can describe. They share spiritual Life eternal with each other (Ephesians 4:4; 1Corinthians 12:13). Jesus and the Father share every virtue and spiritual principle that eternally reflect God’s mind and character. So, it is given that the term “God” is inclusive of the Father and the Son in most cases because, being of the same mind, purpose, Spirit and same exact divine character, there is never any conflict between the two divine Beings (Hebrews 1:3). Though they work in concert and harmony, there are times when God the Father has to become involved in what would normally be in the purview of Jesus – from creation until the New Heavens and the New Earth: Only God the Father was able to raise Jesus from death, and restore the glorious power of the Creator God to Him (Ephesians 1:20; John 17:5). Only God the Father was able bring about the inSemination of Mary by and through the power of His Spirit – becoming the Father of Jesus (Luke 1:35).
Zechariah 14:9 The LORD shall be King over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and His name one.
It is right and proper for Jesus Christ to be referred to as Lord God Almighty:
Revelation 15:3 They sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of Saints.
When Jesus will have assumed the Throne of David at Jerusalem and established His Father’s Kingdom on earth—He will reign in His Father’s stead. Jesus is referred to as Lord God Almighty:
Revelation 11:15, 17 …The kingdoms of this world are become the Kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Messiah; and He shall reign forever and ever… We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, the one who is, and was; because you have taken thy great power, and have reigned.
In Revelation 11:18, we see that it is Jesus who metes out the wrath of the Lamb and judges the dead (Revelation 6:16-17; John 5:22). Speaking of Jesus:
Revelation 19:15 Out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God (Revelation 16:7, 14).
When Jesus takes the throne at Jerusalem, He will establish His Father’s rule over all the earth! It can be truly said that the kingdoms of this world have become the Kingdom of our Father in heaven because Jesus will perform the Father’s will fully and perfectly. The Father will remain on His throne in heaven until all rule and all authority and all powers have been abolished or brought into subjection (1Corinthians 15:24-25). Jesus must reign from Jerusalem, until He has put all enemies under His feet. Jesus taught us to pray to His Father for deliverance from Satan and his demons (Matthew 6:13; Luke 11:4).
Colossians 1:12-13 Giving thanks unto the Father, who has made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the Kingdom of His dear Son.
Jesus came preaching the Gospel. The Good News that Jesus brought was that he would establish the Kingdom of His Father on earth (Mark 1:14). The resurrected Saints will inherit the Kingdom with Jesus Christ and will live, reign and rule with Him for a thousand years (Revelation 20:4)
Isaiah 52:7 [The LORD says,] How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of Him that brings the Gospel, that publishes peace; that brings good tidings of good, that publishes salvation; that says unto Zion, Thy God reigns!
Jesus taught His followers to pray for our heavenly Father’s will to be done in His Kingdom on earth!
Matthew 6:10 [Father]… Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
In the same way, it is right and proper for God the Father to be called Lord:
Revelation 4:11 You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for You have created all things, and for Your pleasure they are and were created.
Revelation 21:22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the Temple of it.
In the New Testament we often find “God” [Theos] referring equally to God the Father, Jesus Christ or both (John 1:1). “Almighty,” [Pantokrator] can apply equally to God the Father, Jesus Christ, or both.
The Church brethren belong to their Father; therefore, they are the Church of God (possessive). Once begotten by a physical father, they have now been spiritually begotten by God the Father at their baptism. The Father is the Lord Almighty.
2Corinthians 6:18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. (Jesus is a brother to the Saints, Hebrews 2:11)
The Lord Almighty is the Father. But the Lord Almighty is also Jesus Christ. We see this even more clearly when we recognize that Jesus is also Alpha and Omega (Revelation 1:8).
References to the throne help make the distinction between God the Father and Jesus Christ as in Revelation 1:6 where “God” is Jesus Christ.
Revelation 1:6 [Jesus Christ] has made us kings and priests unto God and His Father.
Revelation 1:8 [Jesus Christ says,] I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, says the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
Revelation 1:11, 13 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: …And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man.
The Great God can signify both the Father and Jesus Christ:
Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the Great God [the Father] and our Savior Jesus Christ;
Revelation 19:17 …gather yourselves together unto the supper of the Great God [Jesus Christ].
Speaking of Jesus Christ, “The Day of the LORD comes, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate.” Jesus will clean up the earth in preparation for the Millennium. We have seen that the Bible speaks of the Day of the LORD in many, many places. They are references mostly to the last year of the three-and-a-half-year Tribulation. Jesus’ work on the earth will come to an end at the Great White Throne Judgment and the Last Great Day when death is abolished—because death was never meant to be. Christ’s Millennial work begins with the Day of the Lord, and extends until death is cast in the Lake of Fire and the entire earth is dissolved (2Peter 3:12). Christ’s Millennial work lasts a thousand years.
The seven Trumpet plagues begin on a Feast of Trumpets – a year before the end of the Tribulation and last until the triumphant return of Jesus to this earth to rule the Millennium from the throne of David (Isaiah 16:5). After the Saints are gathered with the Two Witnesses on the sea of glass the last seven vials will be poured out (Revelation 15:2). The Saints accompany Jesus as He smites the entire earth (Revelation 19:14). The world will be caught unawares by the Day of the Lord. It is the year of the seventh seal introducing the seven trumpets (Revelation 8:1-2). The earth and the works done by men in it will be stripped bare before God.
2Peter 3:10 But the Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be brought to judgement.
1Thessalonians 5:2 For yourselves know perfectly that the Day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
Jeremiah 46:10 This is the Day of the Lord GOD of hosts, a day of vengeance, that He may avenge Him of His adversaries: and the sword shall devour, and it shall be satiate and made drunk with their blood: for the Lord GOD of hosts has a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates.
Isaiah 24:21, 23 And it shall come to pass in That Day, that the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth… Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before His ancients gloriously.
The seventh seal reveals the seven wraths of God. (Revelation 8:1; Revelation 15:7)
Revelation 8:5 The angel took the censer and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thundering, and lightning, and an earthquake.
Evil and wickedness must be purged from the earth before Godliness can prevail in peace. We find examples of this Godly principle being exercised in both the Day of the LORD, and then once again one-thousand years later at the Day of God. Perhaps Isaiah says it best and most succinctly:
Isaiah 13:9-13 Behold, the Day of the LORD comes, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and He shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in its going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible… I will make a man more precious than fine gold… Therefore, I will make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken out of its place, at the wrath of the Lord of hosts in the day of His fierce anger.
Joel 2:30-31 I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible Day of the LORD comes.
The Church of God has placed its focus mostly on the coming Millennium on this earth. The question of how the ultimate Kingdom of God in the Day of God will come about – has been mostly neglected. It will not be on this present earth, but the ultimate Kingdom of God will be in the New Heaven and New Earth. Christ’s work of reconciling the world will be complete—thus granting access to the Father (2Corinthians 5:19).
The Day of God is decidedly different from the Day of the Lord in which Jesus will have purged the earth and established His Father’s Kingdom on earth for a thousand years. The Day of God is the Day of God the Father. The Day of God is the fulfillment of the Feast of the Last Great Day when the Millennium will have come to an end and Jesus will have delivered up the Kingdom to His Father. Satan and his agents will have been vanquished forever. Even that great enemy Death that entered the world because of sin will have been destroyed. When Jesus’ work of redemption and salvation has been completed, holiness will abound. Jesus will then relinquish all of His authority and rule to His Sovereign Father (1Corinthians 15:24-28). We find the very nature of Jesus Christ revealed: Though equal with God, Jesus makes Himself not only the lowest of the low, but subject to the Highest (John 5:18; 2amuel 25:41; John 13:14; Ephesians 5:21). Peter wrote of the Day of God:
2Peter 3:12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the Day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
The Church brethren will be immortal Saints – and have no need of this physical realm. There will be no need for air, gravity, sunlight or food for nourishment:
2Corinthians 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporary; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
We can see the stars! The New Heaven and the New Earth describe the eternal Kingdom of God. It is difficult to put into words what this final and permanent existence in God’s Plan will be like. It will be an age without end—extending into eternity itself. Only those things which are spiritual will be received into the New Heavens and a New Earth. Nothing mortal or physical will be sustained after the final judgment – not a temple, an organization, a building, a corporation, a basilica nor government of man. Only God’s spirit and character, which have been cultivated, developed and fixed within believing and practicing Christians, will endure forever and ever.
Revelation 20:11Then I saw a Great White Throne and Him who was seated on it. From His presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them (Job 9:6).
Jesus spoke of the hour and day when everyone who has ever lived will be called and given their opportunity for eternal salvation through the words of Christ. Jesus said:
John 5:25, 28-29 Truly, truly, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live… Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
In the Great White Throne Judgment period, God will raise up to physical life all who have ever lived and who were never called by God (John 6:44, 65). After having had ample opportunity to follow the lead of God’s Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14; Joel 2:28-29; Isaiah 65:20), Jesus Christ will judge them (Ezekiel 37:1-14).
In Isaiah, God speaks of the day when every grave will have been opened and death and the grave have delivered up their dead (Revelation 20:13).
Isaiah 28:18, 21-22 Your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with the grave shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it... He shall be angry as in the valley of Gibeon, that He may do His work, His strange work; and bring to pass His act, His strange act. Now therefore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong: for I have heard from the Lord GOD of hosts a complete destruction, even determined upon the whole earth.
Jesus made it absolutely clear that no man has heard the Father’s voice at any time, nor seen His shape (John 5:37; 1John 4:12). No one has ever been remotely able to come anywhere near the immortal Father (1Timothy 6:16). God the Father remains undefiled—always. Until the Day of God, God the Father remains unapproachable, pending the time when all things will have been purified by fire and the New Heavens and the New Earth have been established. Then, when all sin, iniquity, death, and the grave have been totally purged, and all godless authority and power have been vanquished, the Father’s residence will be opened:
Revelation 21:3 I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.
This is the last phase of the Plan of God as it is revealed to us—and yet we are not to speak of God’s Plan having a conclusion, as it has no end. Finally, the perfect atonement of mankind will have been accomplished – there will be perfect reconciliation – and there will be no obstructions between the Saints and God the Father. Having put on eternal life, the Saints will be glorious in every way.
Revelation 22:1-4 He showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God [the Father] and of the Lamb... and His servants shall serve Him: And they shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads.
All mortal life on earth will have ceased when the heavens being on fire were dissolved, and the elements melted with fervent heat (2Peter 3:12; Isaiah 51:6). At the completion of the final Judgment of the Great White Throne, billions upon billions of righteous believers will have qualified to enter the God Family! The estimated number of stars increases constantly, but is thought to be in the range of a billion trillion (Galatians 3:29). They will become resurrected Saints, and whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the Lake of Fire.
First of all, let us understand what, or better yet, who, Zion is. It is written as “Sion” in the New Testament. The first mention of Zion is the occasion when David captured the temple-mount defense stronghold from the Jebusites. Zion became the City of David (2Samuel 5:7). The meaning of the word “Zion” goes through a series of Scriptural expansions and elaborations in its conceptual development from representing ancient Israel as the people of God (Isaiah 51:16), to include the all-encompassing concept of the resurrected Saints, and God’s everlasting reign, and all that entails (Micah 4:7).
Isaiah 51:16 I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, You are my people.
The temple-mount has always been of great significance to God who desires to dwell there. God sent an angel unto Jerusalem to have David build an altar to the LORD at the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, and David sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings there, and called upon the LORD (1Chronicles 21:15-28).
Isaiah 8:18 … the LORD of hosts, who dwells in Mount Zion. (Psalm 132:13)
Paul equates Mount Zion to the City of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem (Hebrews 12:22). Zion continues to grow in significance through the pages of the Bible until Zion comes to connote the very Saints of God in the Eternal Family of God (Revelation 14:1).
Joel 2:1 Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the Day of the LORD comes, for it is near at hand;
Revelation 14:1 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the Mount Zion, and with Him an hundred forty and four thousand, having His Father's name written in their foreheads.
Psalm 102:16 When the LORD shall build up Zion, He shall appear in His glory.
Psalm 48:1-2 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the City of our God, in the mountain of His Holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the City of the Great King.
Isaiah equates Zion with the Holy City, Jerusalem. Zion and Jerusalem being symbolic of the true Church and the resurrected Saints.
Isaiah 52:1 Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the Holy City.
The resurrected Saints have the name of the City of God, which is New Jerusalem – because they are also one and the same!
Revelation 3:12 I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the City of my God, which is New Jerusalem.
When we put these few verses together, we see that Zion is comprised of the saints of the Church of God. What we find shows that the Old and New Testament Scriptures are consistent in confirming that Jesus Christ will marry the Bride – the Church – Spiritual Israel – Mount Zion – The Firstborn – New Jerusalem – the City of the Lord. Zion is the eternal City Abraham sought for:
Hebrews 11:10, 16 Abraham looked for a City which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God… Now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He has prepared for them a City.
Who can imagine a City of Saints in which everyone was led by God’s Holy Spirit? Who can imagine a City wherein there was perfect Godly love, law, peace, unity, justice and righteousness? Notice how Paul ties some of these descriptive terms together when speaking of the resurrected Saints – the Bride of Christ:
Hebrews 12:22-24 You have come unto Mount Zion, and unto the City of the Living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and Church of the firstborn, who are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the New Covenant.
“The spirits of righteous men made perfect,” is an ideal picture of the prepared Bride of Christ. This is how Isaiah describes the glory and riches of New Jerusalem, the Bride of Christ:
Isaiah 59:20-21 The Redeemer shall come to Zion… My covenant [is] with them, says the Lord; My Spirit is upon you… and they shall call you, the City of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel [Jesus]. (Isaiah 49:7)
Isaiah 60:14, 19-20 …they shall call you, The City of the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel… The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.
When we read of the future fulfillment of God’s Plan, never assume that it is possible for us to grasp with our carnal minds, the awesome, majestic, and incomprehensible meaning of what God has promised (1Corinthians 2:9). The New Earth is indescribable – “more dear than the spoken word can tell” – inexpressible things, which man may not utter (2Corinthians 12:4). Jesus Christ is not selling us a bill of goods. Let us always recognize that the fulfillment of the promises that God speaks of will far surpass our greatest expectations.
The critics’ proof that the marriage supper of the Lamb is only allegorical is said to be in Revelation 21. They snidely ask the question, “Is Jesus going to marry a city? Chuckle, chuckle!” What does the Scripture mean when it speaks of a New Heaven and a New Earth? “I John saw the Holy City, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a Bride adorned for her Husband.” (Revelation 21:2)
No one gets tripped up when they hear figurative language used something like, “The entire city turned out to hear the Mayor.” Everyone understands that to mean the total populace came to the event. John is saying the same thing. Every one of the Saints in the entire Holy City will literally be there. John is using the exact same literary methodology when he says, “I John saw the Holy City, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a Bride adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21:2). The Bride takes the Family name. Jesus says, “I will write upon you the name of my God, and the name of the City of my God, which is New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon you my new name (Revelation 3:12).
Something magnificent is being revealed here – the Holy City, prepared as a Bride – what does this mean? Those who used worldly wisdom deduce that it is a foregone conclusion that Christ could not possibly marry New Jerusalem – because no one can marry a city. They cannot understand “New Jerusalem” to be a reference to the spiritual Saints of God. They fail to include the next few verses in their study, and they neglect to ask themselves the question, “Who is New Jerusalem?” Again, please understand – Bible language points to the spiritual reality to come. Let us gather a little here and a little there, and see if we can figure out who Jesus Christ is speaking of when He uses the term, “New Jerusalem.”
New Jerusalem is called the Bride because it encompasses all who will wed Jesus Christ. Jesus shares His intimate feelings for His Bride with us – because it is His intent that the Saints be His Bride. Jesus says to Zion – the Church – His Bride:
Isaiah 62:1, 4 For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burns… You shalt be called ‘Hephzibah’- [My Delight is in Her] …for the Lord delights in you.
At the end of the Millennium, the Bride will have been wed to the Messiah for one-thousand years. The Bride, will have become the Lamb's wife (Revelation 21:9). There is a prophetic picture in Ezekiel 16, where Jesus washed, dressed, and blessed the nation of Israel so that she would be prepared to be His wife. Jesus says that she will have prospered into a Kingdom (Ezekiel 16:13). And indeed she has – and yet, John describes The Saints as being, “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21:2, 12). As we untangle the mixed metaphors of thousands of years of prophecy, we find that Jesus has indeed prepared His fiancée, ancient Israel, the Church, the Saints and New Israel, for the Kingdom of the New Heavens and the New Earth. They will collectively be called the Holy City, New Jerusalem. Israel will have become eternally the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16). Jesus will have cleansed her, groomed and dressed her in royal garments (Ezekiel 16:8-14). The Holy City, New Jerusalem is God’s Family coming home (Revelation 21:2, 10)! It is very interesting to see the angels multitasking:
Revelation 21:9 There came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew you the Bride, the Lamb's wife.
When the angel showed John the Bride, the Lamb's wife, he was shown that Great City, the Holy Jerusalem! There is no mistaking the symbolism.
Revelation 21:10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that Great City, the Holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. (Revelation 7:15)
In the New Heavens and New Earth, there will be no physical Temple as in the days of Solomon. God the Father and Jesus Christ will be the Temple there. Those who comprise New Jerusalem are the Tabernacle of God (Revelation 21:2-3).
Revelation 21:22 I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the Temple of it.
The world cannot accept that the resurrected Saints – as Children of God – will be an integral part of God’s Temple. The Saints will be worshipped – and only God is to be worshipped (Revelation 3:9). The Saints will be like God (1John 3:2).
In the Millennium, the resurrected Saints will be worthy of worship:
Psalm 22:27-28 All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindred of the nations shall worship before you. For the Kingdom is the LORD'S: and He is the governor among the nations. Writing to the saints, Paul said it this way:
2Corinthians 6:16 ...You are the Temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Individually, we are each a Temple of God (1Corinthians 3:16; 2Corinthians 6:16). Peter shows that collectively we are as lively stones, built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood – and yet, Jesus is not going to marry a temple, a city, stones, or a house (1Peter 2:5). It is plain that once we are placed in the Body of Christ, we become, “Fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God …in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a Holy Temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19-22).
In 1Corinthians 6:19, Paul wrote of individual Christians being the Temple of God’s Spirit. Peter explains that in the same way that Jesus is the living foundation stone, chosen of God and precious, spiritually, the Saints will be living stones of the Temple as well (1Peter 2:4).
1Peter 2:5-6 You are living stones that God is building into His spiritual Temple, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the Scripture (Isaiah 28:16), Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious.
God’s forgiveness of our sins will be so complete that He will completely forget the atrocities that once occurred on the face of the earth—He has that incredible ability (Isaiah 43:25). When God creates the New Heavens and New Earth, He is going to start from scratch, from nothingness – like He did in Genesis 1:1 (same Hebrew word, bara). This old earth will not be made over – but entirely replaced, and Jerusalem will also be “brand new” (from the German meaning, "fresh from the fire"). God says through Isaiah:
Isaiah 65:17-18 Behold, I create New Heavens and a New Earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice forever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.
We have seen that God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, dwell within the converted people of God (John 14:23). Now, we find the ultimate fulfillment of God’s Plan to dwell with His Saints. The Saints are each a part of the spiritual structure of the Temple of God (Revelation 3:12). Every resurrected Saint will be a part of the spiritual house in which God the Father and Jesus Christ abide.
This Holy Temple in the Lord is a dwelling place of God. It is also called the Church, Spiritual Israel, Mount Zion, The Firstborn, New Jerusalem, and the City of the Lord. So, who is this New Jerusalem prepared as a Bride adorned for her husband—Jesus Christ? It is the resurrected spiritual Saints of God – the house of God, the Church of the living God (1Timothy 3:15).
Hebrews 3:6 But Christ as a Son over His own family dwelling; We are His house [His Family, His residence], if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.
There will be a City where God will dwell with His Saints forever (Revelation 21:3). Abraham’s roots were in the pagan based philosophy of Ur of the Chaldees. When God brought him out, Abraham sought a place of culture, beliefs, morals, traditions, customs and society based on God’s own laws and principles:
Hebrews 11:8, 10 By faith Abraham… looked for a City which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Why will God dissolve the earth completely? Because there is no city on earth that has not become totally corrupted. There must needs be a Holy City – New Jerusalem consisting of the resurrected Saints. New Jerusalem will be built on the foundation of Jesus Christ and the apostles.
Revelation 21:14 The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
Jesus chose His disciples very carefully – praying to His Father all night long for discernment – that they might be, not only witnesses to every word He spoke, but to become foundational elements in His Eternal Kingdom. The apostles’ names will be inscribed on the gates of God’s eternal city—New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:14). Who will make up the City of God?
Revelation 3:12 Him that overcomes will I make a pillar in the Sanctuary of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the City of my God, which is New Jerusalem of God, descending out of heaven: and I will write upon him my new name.
Again, the City of God will not be constructed of bricks and steel, stone and mortar, but it will be entirely spiritual in nature:
Revelation 21:2-3 I saw the Holy City, New Jerusalem of God, descending out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the Tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.
Holy Jerusalem is the Bride. Holy Jerusalem is the Great City. Holy Jerusalem is the Lamb's wife.
Revelation 21:9 And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will show you the Bride, the Lamb's wife.
In the resurrection of the Saints, Abraham will assume his place of honor. Jerusalem is going to be the most fantastic place on earth! Abraham will have come unto Mount Zion, and unto the City of the Living God, the Heavenly Jerusalem (Hebrews 12:22).
Isaiah 4:5 The LORD will create upon every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for God’s glory shall cover and protect her.
Isaiah reflects the theme of this book, “Darkness to Light” showing Zion’s righteousness as brightness, and Zion’s salvation as a lamp that shines:
Isaiah 62:1 For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that shines.
Isaiah 62:11 Behold, the LORD has proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say you to the daughter of Zion, Behold, your salvation is coming; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him.
In the New Jerusalem, John saw the stream of living waters springing forth from the throne of God and of the Lamb at the Tree of Life—picturing God’s Holy Spirit and Eternal Life:
Revelation 22:1 He shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
The Living Water is representative of God’s Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit brings eternal life (John 4:14). The pure river of living water emanates from the very throne of God in the Most Holy Place (John 7:39; Jeremiah 2:13; 17:13; Ezekiel 47:1-12):
Revelation 21:6 …I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. (Revelation 22:17)
Psalms 46:4 There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the City of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High.
Zechariah 14:8-9 It shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. And the LORD shall be King over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and His name one.
In the beginning when God said that His creation was very good, it meant that everything worked together for the good (Genesis 1:31). God has created natural elements found in “leaves” to effect cures for every disease Revelation 22:2). This gift of natural healing was lost when the ground was cursed because of sin (Genesis 3:17; Revelation 22:3). In the Millennium human minds will once again be brilliant. And then finally, there will be no aches, pains or death any more (Revelation 7:17; 20:14; 21:4).
Revelation 2:7 He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches; To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. (Psalm 1:2-3; Jeremiah 17:7-8).
In the eternal Temple spiritual minds will be brilliant. Each Saint will serve in perfect harmony, enjoying to the fullest his uniquely special gifts. There will be no aches, pains or death any more (Revelation 20:14).
Revelation 22:2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the Tree of Life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
As a matter of clarification for those who misinterpret, “…on either side of the river, was there the Tree of Life – there are not two Trees of Life – only one. Its limbs extend far, easily reaching across the river of Living Waters to both sides. There is a beautiful evergreen tree native to the southeastern United States called the Southern Live Oak. Draped in Spanish Moss, it normally tops out at only about 60 feet, but its limbs can extend out to span 150 feet in diameter. Picture the spiritual Tree of Life like that – with the river of Living Water flowing beneath its branches – like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season (Psalm 1:3; Jeremiah 17:8).
Revelation 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.
Revelation 22:3, 5 There shall be no more curse (Genesis 3:17-19): but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him: …And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun (Revelation 21:23); for the Lord God gives them light: and they shall reign forever and ever.
Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the Bride say, Come. And let him that hears say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the living waters freely.
God’s pattern in heaven is the type which prefigures God’s annual Holy Days (Exodus 25:40). God established His Plan long before He began to implement it for mankind. In addition to His 7,000-year schedule, God has a blueprint upon which He has portrayed His entire Plan of Salvation for mankind. This blueprint was presented to ancient Israel in a form based around annual harvest festivals that they were obligated to observe. Each of those Holy Days in Leviticus 23 has a specific time when it will satisfy its prophetic meaning. Jesus, Himself observed those Feasts of the Lord, demonstrating their deep significance in pointing to the spiritual harvest of men (Matthew 25:34). God the Father and Jesus Christ began their Plan with the idea of reproducing more Elohim in their own image and character (Genesis 1:26-27).
The Feast of Passover shows that from that moment Jesus died for our sins, we had forgiveness available. The Lamb was committed to be slain for mankind’s salvation (Revelation 13:8). The Feast of Unleavened Bread calls for our remaining sinless through obedience to God’s Law. To die for sinful man necessitated that the Lamb, Jesus Christ, be sinless, unleavened, sincere and true (1Corinthians 5:8). The Feast of Pentecost pictures God’s Spirit coming upon His Church brethren enabling them to become Children of God, walk according to God’s Law, become immortal and incorruptible spirit beings, and firstfruit brothers and sisters with the Lamb (1Corinthians 15:20). The Feast of Trumpets announces the day in the Plan of God in which Jesus will return to pour out His wrath on this lawless evil world in preparation for the Millennial reign of Christ (Revelation 11:15). The Day of Atonement will see all mankind cleansed of iniquity, and their ultimate reconciliation to the Father. The Kingdom of God will be established for a thousand years on earth producing a great spiritual harvest when the Feast of Tabernacles comes to the full.
And then comes the Feast of the Last Great Day when the entire Plan of God for mankind will be realized in the New Heavens and the New Earth!
God is reproducing Himself, so in making mankind, He gave man the power to reproduce also—in accordance with His life giving pattern. He gave man this power in order for many sons and daughters to become His eternal spiritual Children in the Family of God. Speaking of God the Father we read:
Ephesians 3:15 Of whom the whole Family in heaven and earth is named.
The Church of God brethren, the Body of Christ, constitute God’s Family on earth. God the Father is the supreme authority in heaven and on earth. Physical fathers are in turn the ultimate authority in their families. The Plan of God is yet a work in progress. It will culminate in man being thrust forth as brilliant spirit beings into the immortal Family of God. All the features of man, his marvelous mind and stature – directed by God’s Spirit and Law – was designed to ultimately constitute God’s glorious Temple in which He resides (Ephesians 2:21, 1Corinthians 3:16). God’s Plan for His spiritual house is coming to fruition, being constructed of living stones – the saints of His Church (1Peter 2:5). God says of His people: “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a purchased people; that you should show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness and into His marvelous light.” (1Peter 2:9)
If the physical were able to describe the spiritual, which it cannot, we might be able to find a description of the Holy City, New Jerusalem. We are given a spiritual portrayal in that a golden reed is an angelic measurement:
Revelation 21:15, 17 He that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the City, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof… as an angel measures.
Keep in mind that the angel is showing John the Bride—who is the Holy City, New Jerusalem. The angel said, “I will show you the Bride, the Lamb’s wife.” The angel has a spiritual measuring instrument with which to measure the spiritual City—which is the resurrected Church. We cannot compare the spiritual with the physical. It is clear that John describes every supremely perfect characteristic of the risen Saints – their excellence, grandeur and impressiveness.
Revelation 21:16 The City lies foursquare, and the length is as great as the width: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.
God knows that these carnal minds of ours are only able to conceive of dimensional aspects. These spiritual and figurative portrayals of Godly expressions signify the immeasurable wisdom and love of God. Paul also depended on physical dimensions to bolster our grasp of the spiritual, as we find in:
Ephesians 3:14-19 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole Family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge, that you might be filled with all the fullness of God.
Keep in mind that a City whose builder and maker is God will contain otherworldly elements of stunning beauty—spiritual jewels—if you will, telling us of the excellency and importance of God’s Saints to God, Himself. Describing the characteristics of the Saints themselves, the materials of the walls and foundation of the Holy City are described as the most awesome jewels, elements and crystals: jasper, gold as transparent glass, diamond, sapphire, agate, emerald, onyx, ruby, sardius, chrysolite, beryl, topaz, chrysoprasus, jacinth, and amethyst, with gates of pearls (Revelation 21:18-21).
Revelation 21:23-24 And the City had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did brighten it, and the Lamb fills the City with light: And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it.
Revelation 22:5 …The Lord God gives them light.
This book, “Plan of God – Darkness to Light,” is free for the asking. The Book of Proverbs directs us to procure the Truth while not making merchandise of it (23:23). For study, reference, and research, this book has been made available to all on the internet. Warren Zehrung has dedicated this work to the public domain by waiving all of his rights to it under universal copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law. You may copy and distribute this work as long as there are no edits or change in context to it, without asking permission. It is electronically and digitally on line, at www.sabbathcog.org and www.childrenofgod.net to remain there until the work of God (John 6:29) is finished. Time is short—act now. God says that His word will not always be readily available:
Isaiah 55:6 Seek ye the LORD while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near.
Romans 9:28 He will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.
Revelation 22:6 [One of the seven angels said unto John], These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to shew unto His servants the things which must shortly be done.
Revelation 22:20 He who testifies these things says, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. (Revelation 22:7)
It is better to have a hard copy of this manuscript because God prophesied that His words will not always be available on the internet or from the pulpit.
Zephaniah 8:11 Behold, the days come, says the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:
John 9:4 I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is day: the night comes, when no man can work.
Daniel 12:7 …When He shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the Holy People, all these things shall be finished.
John 12:35 Jesus said: Yet a little while the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walks in darkness does not know where he is going.
Please feel free to use this book to preach the Gospel to the world. Also, feel free to correct this book where you find errors and oversights, because it only represents our best effort to portray the present truth of God as we understand it (2Peter 1:12). Question points of difference and deliberate them. Please make your corrections using Scriptural substantiation. Use the best Biblical text, never utilizing the pseudepigrapha or Apocrypha – writings not to be included with the Old Testament Scriptures canonized by God's Prophet Ezra. Those uninspired and fabricated narratives will lead you into the confusion of heresy. Through His Holy Spirit, God imparted unambiguous discernment to Ezra to be able to distinguish those inspired texts that should be included in His Word. The apostles canonized the New Testament. Paul penned more than a fourth of the New Testament! Inspired by God and taught by Jesus Christ, he helped immensely by articulating Christ's teachings and building upon the substance presented in the Gospel accounts. Paul was uniquely qualified because he was taught the Gospel directly by Jesus Christ Himself (Galatians 1:16-18). His understanding was substantial in that from a small child, Paul had been continuously instructed in perfect manner of the law by Gamaliel – the foremost expert of the day on the Old Testament (Acts 22:3). The apostle Peter referred to the writings of Paul as Scripture (2Peter 3:16). Peter, James and John, last of all, rounded out the team that preserved and canonized the New Testament Scriptures.
2Timothy 3:14-17 You continue in the things which you have learned and have been assured of, knowing of whom you have learned them; And that from a child you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
Up to and during Christ’s public ministry, the Old Testament was the entirety of Scripture. God had preserved Old Testament Scripture to be joined with the New Testament Gospels and epistles. Shortly before his death, Paul related to the Ephesian Church elders at Miletus:
Acts 20:27 I did not shrink back from declaring to you the entire counsel of God. [That is the Plan of God]
About three decades later God would reveal the concluding balance of His word to the beloved apostle John—making the sacred word of God complete. God the Father set His final seal of authorization on the completed Bible – not to be added to by anyone (Revelation 22:18-19, Deuteronomy 4:2). God the Father disclosed to Jesus Christ those things which must shortly come to pass. Then Jesus Christ, through His angel, unveiled it unto His servant John who bare record of the word of God, and of all things that he saw (Revelation 1:1-2).
There is so much more to be revealed in the Bible than we can possibly imagine. The Scriptures are a gold mine of God’s revelations to us—but we must dig for those spiritual riches (Psalm 111:10). We are told in the Scriptures how to arrive at right doctrine. One must put together all the references that God gives us that pertain to every single topic. No one is allowed to “proof-text” or base doctrine on a single verse – lifted out of context. For Truth Seekers, the volume of internal Biblical evidence is uniquely compelling when we accept the word of God with all readiness of mind to prove whether those things are indeed factual (Acts 17:11).
Every precept is supported by every other. Man will never extract all the wisdom that lies therein—because the Bible is the Living Word of God. If we do not prove all things in this way, we will forever be fed only a baby’s pabulum, and never be nourished with the spiritual meat of God’s word:
Isaiah 28:9-10 Whom shall He teach knowledge? And whom shall He make to understand doctrine? Them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.
When Godly Truth is found, it will not only be supported by a single verse, it will be bolstered by other Scriptures – which in turn are also a part of the greater picture God is supplying us. And what is more, if we will not put the entire word together, it will seem to be a too much of a series of disconnected sound-bites—and in the end we will end up on the trash heap of false religion—trapped and broken:
Isaiah 28:11-13 For with stammering lips and another tongue will He speak to this people. To whom He said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.
Romans 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!
God reveals Himself and His Plan for mankind in the Bible. God’s Plan for mankind begins with abject darkness:
Genesis 1:2 ...Darkness was upon the face of the deep.
And, God’s Plan for mankind ends with the picture of eternal light.
2Corinthians 4:6 God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
John 8:12 Then spoke Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but will live his life in the light.
In the New Heavens and the New Earth, both God the Father and Jesus Christ will shine forth in the highest level of intense brilliant spiritual light that defines their eternal glory. Jesus spoke of it in His last prayer to His Father the night before He died on earth:
John 17:5 O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world existed.
This glory is the highest level of intense brilliant spiritual light – which no physical person could ever come near:
1Timothy 6:16 Who only has immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honor and power everlasting.
1John 1:5, 7 …God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (John 1:9; 9:5; Revelation 21:23)
Darkness will be eradicated forever because the Lord God gives them Light:
Revelation 22:5 There shall be no night there [for the glory of God illuminates the City, and the Lamb is the light thereof]; and they shall reign for ever and ever: and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God gives them Light.
What will be next – after the New Heavens and the New Earth? God will reveal to His Saints a much greater New Plan of God – because the love of God will never cease to increase and spread in unimaginable ways. Under God’s direction the Saints will eternally create, beautify and spread God's Kingdom and rule over an entire new universe! Perhaps we are given a small clue to next phase of what God has in store for His Family:
Isaiah 9:7 Of the increase of His Kingdom Empire and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His Kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
END: Plan of God – Darkness to Light