Revelation 20

The Reign of Christ on Earth

In the previous chapter, we read how the armies of the Beast will be gathered together for war and destroyed by the Lord who is described as riding into battle on a white horse. When the armies of the nations are defeated, the Beast and the False Prophet will be captured and thrown alive into the Lake of Fire, and Satan will be locked in the Abyss for a thousand years.

Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. Rev. 19:19-20  

And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. Rev. 20:1-2

Despite the defeat of Satan, the Beast, and the False Prophet at the Battle of Armageddon, the events of the Last Days will not end with this war. Instead, the Battle of Armageddon will be followed by a thousand-year period when Christ will rule over the nations through His people. The Reign of Christ on earth will be announced by loud voices, which will follow the sounding of the Seventh Trumpet and that will declare that the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Messiah.

The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.” Rev. 11:15


Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a severe hailstorm. Rev. 11:19

When the Seventh Trumpet is sounded, the Great Earthquake and Severe Hailstorm will destroy the armies of the Beast, and the Reign of Christ on earth will begin. (The Great Earthquake and Severe Hailstorm that will defeat God’s enemies at the Battle of Armageddon are also described by the Sixth Seal and the Seventh Bowl.) During the Reign of Christ, the devil will be bound in the Abyss and those who were beheaded by the Beast, during the Great Tribulation, will be resurrected to reign with Christ as priests for a thousand years. 

And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years. Rev. 20:4-6


In these verses, we learn that those who refuse to take the Mark of the Beast will come to life in the First Resurrection to reign with Christ for a thousand years. These are the same martyrs who are called blessed in an earlier description of those who will die in the Great Tribulation.

Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.” Rev. 14:13
   
In addition to the Martyrs of the Great Tribulation, the Faithful Remnant from within the Twelve Tribes of Israel will also be gathered to Jerusalem to reign with Christ. These are the 144,000 who will be sealed before the events of the Seven Trumpets begin and who will remain hidden from the Beast during the events of the Great Tribulation.

Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. 14:1-3

As we will see below, the reference to Mount Zion is a reference to the 1,000 Year Reign of Christ when the mountain of God will be exalted above all other mountains. When the 144,000 are described as standing with the Lamb on Mount Zion, it is a picture of how the Faithful Remnant, consisting of 144,000 form all the Tribes of Israel, will be gathered to the Holy Land during the 1,000 Year Reign of Christ. (To read more about the 144,000, click here: Who are the 144,000 from all the Tribes of Israel?)

The Purpose of the 1,000 Year Reign of Christ

Understanding the purpose behind the 1,000 Year Reign of Christ is a matter of understanding the purpose and history of Israel. In the Old Testament, we read how Israel was chosen from among all the peoples of the world to be a priestly nation. They were given the Covenant, the Prophets, and the Law, in order that they might instruct the nations about God. In turn, the nations were to come to Israel to be taught, and to the Temple, which was to be a house of prayer for all nations.[1] Instead of fulfilling their priestly role to the world, Israel broke their covenant with God and became like the nations that surrounded them   and followed them in their idolatry and sin. As a result, the people of Israel were defeated by their enemies and removed from their land.

Despite their rebellion, God did not revoke His call and purpose for Israel. Instead, He made many promises concerning their future restoration and spoke of how He would gather a Faithful Remnant that would fulfill Israel’s original calling to the nations.

Once more a remnant of the kingdom of Judah will take root below and bear fruit above. For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. Isa. 37:31-32

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you. The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will bring my people Israel and Judah back from captivity and restore them to the land I gave their ancestors to possess,’ says the Lord.” Jer. 30:1-3

As a result of the above promises, the events of the Last Days will be paused in order to allow Israel to fulfill her original calling to the nations. Accordingly, following the Battle of Armageddon, the 144,000 From All the Tribes of Israel will be joined with the resurrected Martyrs of the Great Tribulation and, together, they will reign over the Inhabitants of the Earth for a thousand years as the true Israel of God.  

Those who will live through the 1,000 Year Reign of Christ will be: 1.) The resurrected Martyrs of the Great Tribulation, 2.) The 144,000 From All the Tribes of Israel, and 3.) The survivors from among the Inhabitants of the Earth whose populations will be greatly reduced as a result of the previous judgments of God.

The 1,000 Year Reign of Christ in the Old Testament

To better understand the 1,000 Year Reign of Christ, we must leave the Revelation in order to read what other Scriptures say about this event. In the Old Testament, we find many prophecies that describe this period, including the following passages.  

This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem: In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Come, descendants of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord. Isa. 2:1-5

In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. Many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the Lord Almighty has spoken. All the nations may walk in the name of their gods, but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever. “In that day,” declares the Lord, “I will gather the lame; I will assemble the exiles and those I have brought to grief. I will make the lame my remnant, those driven away a strong nation. The Lord will rule over them in Mount Zion from that day and forever. Mic.4:1-7

The events that are recorded in the above passages have never taken place in history and are not a description of our present time. Instead, these passages are describing a future, literal event when Christ will reign for a thousand years through the Israel of God. A closer look at these two prophecies reveals the following five themes that describe this period. Whenever we read of these five themes in the Scriptures, we are reading about the 1,000 Year Reign of Christ.

The Five Themes of the 1,000 Year Reign of Christ

1.
Mount Zion is Exalted.
2. The Remnant of Israel is gathered from the nations.
3. The Kingdom is restored to Israel.
4. The nations come to Mount Zion to worship God and to be taught.
5. Jesus Christ rules over the nations.

1. Mount Zion is Exalted

One of the most repeated themes of the 1,000 Year Reign of Christ is that Mount Zion will be exalted. Verses that contain a description of Mount Zion being exalted, and the Lord ruling from the Holy Mountain, are verses that are describing the 1,000 Year Reign of Christ.

The moon will be dismayed, the sun ashamed; For the Lord Almighty will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before its elders—with great glory. Isa. 24:23


When Mount Zion is exalted above all other mountains, it will serve as the majestic point from which the Lord will rule the nations.

“For on my holy mountain, the high mountain of Israel, declares the Sovereign Lord, there in the land all the people of Israel will serve me, and there I will accept them.” Ezek. 20:40

This is what the Lord says: “I will return to Zion and dwell in Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the Faithful City, and the mountain of the Lord Almighty will be called the Holy Mountain.” Zech. 8:3

It is during the 1,000 Year Reign of Christ that Jerusalem will fulfill her role as the Faithful City where the nations will go to be taught, and Mount Zion will be called the Holy Mountain.

2. The Remnant of Israel is Gathered from the Nations


Another familiar theme of the 1,000 Year Reign of Christ is the gathering of the elect to Israel. Following the Battle of Armageddon, a trumpet will sound and a banner will be raised that will signal to the exiles to return to Jerusalem.

“All you people of the world, you who live on the earth, when a banner is raised on the mountains, you will see it, and when a trumpet sounds, you will hear it.” Isa. 18:3

He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth. Isa. 11:12

The return of the exiles will be facilitated by the survivors from the Inhabitants of the Earth who will tremble in fear of the Lord, and who will carry the sons and daughters of Israel to their own land.

This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “See, I will beckon to the nations, I will lift up my banner to the peoples; they will bring your sons in their arms and carry your daughters on their hips. Kings will be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers. They will bow down before you with their faces to the ground; they will lick the dust at your feet. Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who hope in me will not be disappointed.” Isa. 49:22-23

“And they will bring all your people, from all the nations, to my holy mountain in Jerusalem as an offering to the Lord
on horses, in chariots and wagons, and on mules and camels,” says the Lord. “They will bring them, as the Israelites bring their grain offerings, to the temple of the Lord in ceremonially clean vessels.”  Isa. 66:20 

The fact that God’s people will be gathered from all the nations tells us that there will be other Israelites who manage to hide from the Beast, during the Great Tribulation, besides the Fleeing Remnant who will escape into the wilderness during the Attack on Jerusalem. This Hidden Remnant will be sought out by the Inhabitants of the Earth and brought to Jerusalem as an offering to the Lord. 

During the gathering of the elect, not all the Israelites who attempt to return to Jerusalem will be allowed to enter Zion. Instead, the Remnant that returns to Jerusalem will be judged, just as the children of Israel were judged in the Exodus before they entered the Promised Land. At that time, all those who had rebelled against the Lord died in the wilderness and were not allowed to enter into the land.[2] In the same way, the rebellious from amongst the survivors will be purged from the Faithful Remnant and will not be allowed to enter into the land of Israel.

“I will bring you from the nations and gather you from the countries where you have been scattered—with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with outpoured wrath. I will bring you into the wilderness of the nations and there, face to face, I will execute judgment upon you. As I judged your ancestors in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will judge you, declares the Sovereign Lord. I will take note of you as you pass under my rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant. I will purge you of those who revolt and rebel against me. Although I will bring them out of the land where they are living, yet they will not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord.” Ezek. 20:34-38


When Israel is gathered to Mount Zion, God will remove those who revolted and rebelled against Him, leaving only the Faithful Remnant numbering 144,000 From All the Tribes of Israel.

NOTE: The rebirth of the nation of Israel in 1948 is not a fulfillment of the above prophecies, as that event was apposed by the surrounding nations and is still contested to this day. During the 1,000 Year Reign of Christ, the nations will help gather the Remnant to Israel, and Israel will rule over them. See The 1,000 Year Reign of Christ vs. The Events of 1948)

3. The Kingdom is Restored to Israel

The purging of the ungodly from Israel and the gathering of the Faithful Remnant to Mount Zion will bring about the Restoration of the Kingdom to Israel. The Restoration of the Kingdom to Israel will be a literal event when the nations will be subject to the people of God.  

The Lord will have compassion on Jacob; once again he will choose Israel and will settle them in their own land. Foreigners will join them and unite with the descendants of Jacob. Nations will take them and bring them to their own place. And Israel will take possession of the nations and make them male and female servants in the Lord’s land. They will make captives of their captors and rule over their oppressors. Isa.14:1-2


The Restoration of the Kingdom to Israel is something that the disciples and the people living in Jerusalem thought Christ was going to bring about at His First Coming. When Jesus entered Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, the residents of that city came running to greet Jesus with palm branches and with shouts of, “Blessed is the King of Israel.” All of Israel was familiar with Scriptures that spoke of the ascendency of their nation (For example: See Isaiah 9:1-7, 11:1-16), and the crowds believed that Jesus, as a physical descendant of King David, was coming to defeat the Romans and to bring about this event. After the death of Christ, all hopes of the Restoration of the Kingdom to Israel were brutally ended   only to be revived once again by His resurrection. Following His resurrection, the first thing the Apostles questioned the Lord about was the Restoration of the Kingdom of Israel.

Then (after the Resurrection) they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.” Acts 1:6-7

When the Apostles questioned Jesus about the Restoration of the Kingdom to Israel, they were not speaking of the church as a “type” of Israel, as the church had not yet come into being. Instead, they were referring to the literal and physical kingdom of Israel that would reign over the nations as it once had under the reigns of King David and King Solomon.[3] This was the only kingdom of Israel that the Apostles were familiar with and the only type of kingdom that they would have been referring to. In His answer, Jesus confirmed the Apostle’s understanding of the Restoration of the Kingdom to Israel but told them it was not for them to know the date when it would start.

A description of how the nations will be subject to the Restored Nation of Israel can be seen in the following prophecy of Isaiah.

“Foreigners will rebuild your walls, and their kings will serve you. Though in anger I struck you, in favor I will show you compassion. Your gates will always stand open, they will never be shut, day or night, so that people may bring you the wealth of the nations— their kings led in triumphal procession. For the nation or kingdom that will not serve you will perish; it will be utterly ruined.” Isa. 60:10-14


The future Restoration of the Kingdom to Israel will also bring about the reuniting of the Twelve Tribes of Israel that were divided in the civil war that followed the reign of King Solomon. At that time, the Ten Tribes of Israel split from the Two Tribes of Judea, and a permanent divide was created in the nation.[4] During the 1,000 Year Reign of Christ, the Twelve Tribes will be reunited and Israel will once again become one nation.

“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land.  I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms.” Ezek. 37:21-22

It is during the 1,000 Year Reign of Christ that the prophecies concerning the reuniting of the Twelve Tribes of Israel will be fulfilled. It is also during the Restoration of the Kingdom to Israel that foreigners will be physically joined to Israel, including the resurrected martyrs of the Great Tribulation who will reign as priests. The joining of the Martyrs of the Great Tribulation with the Faithful Remnant of Israel will fulfill the prophecies that speak of how believing Gentiles will be united with the physical descendants of Jacob.

The Lord will have compassion on Jacob; once again he will choose Israel and will settle them in their own land. Foreigners will join them and unite with the descendants of Jacob. Isa. 14:1

4. Foreigners will come to Jerusalem to be taught

Once the Reign of Christ is established on Mount Zion and the Kingdom is Restored to Israel, the nations of the world will come to Jerusalem to be taught and to worship the Lord. These worshipers will consist of the survivors from the nations whose armies were defeated by the Lord at the Battle of Armageddon and who will live in fear of God and Israel. These remaining Inhabitants of the Earth will come to Zion to worship the King to avoid being punished with the plagues that He will inflict on the nations that do not go up to Jerusalem.

The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name… Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, and to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, they will have no rain. If the Egyptian people do not go up and take part, they will have no rain. The Lord will bring on them the plague he inflicts on the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles.
Zech. 14:9, 16-18

5. Jesus Christ Will Rule over the Nations


All of the preceding aspects of the 1,000 Year Reign of Christ will be a function of the Rule of Christ. The Rule of Christ that will exist throughout this period will be a rule of iron. Whenever the Scriptures refer to Christ as ruling over the nations with a rod of iron, they are describing the 1,000 Year Reign of Christ.

She
(Israel) gave birth to a son (Jesus), a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.” And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. Rev. 12:5

Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” Rev. 19:15


The rule of iron that will exist during the 1,000 Year Reign of Christ will bring about the destruction of any person or nation that rebels against the Son.

“I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.” I will proclaim the Lord’s decree: He said to me, “You are my son; today I have become your father. Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will break them with a rod of iron; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.” Ps. 2:6-9

The Glory of the Lord


During the 1,000 Year Reign of Christ, the Lord will not rule in bodily form over Mount Zion but will rule through His people. To those on earth, the Lord will appear in His glory, over Mount Zion, and not as a physical person who sits on a throne. The Glory of the Lord describes those times when the Lord’s presence is revealed through ominous signs, such as dark clouds, thunder, and lightning that inspires awe among those who see it. Examples of how the Glory of the Lord will appear to those on earth during the 1,000 Year of Christ can be seen in how the Glory of God appeared over the mountain and the Tabernacle during the time of Moses.

Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently. Exod. 19:18


To the Israelites the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain.

Exod. 24:17

Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Exod. 40:35


As in the above instances, during the 1,000 Year Reign of Christ, the Glory of the Lord will remain over Mount Zion in the form of a cloud by day and a fire by night. This is the same sign of the Lord that will appear in the heavens at the Battle of Armageddon, which will precede the 1,000 Year Reign of Christ, and that will continue over Mount Zion throughout the Reign of Christ.

In that day the Branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel. Those who are left in Zion, who remain in Jerusalem, will be called holy, all who are recorded among the living in Jerusalem.  The Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion; he will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire. Then the Lord will create over all of Mount Zion and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over everything the glory will be a canopy. Isa. 4:2-5


In these verses, the 1,000 Year Reign of Christ is identified by how the Lord will preside over Mount Zion and by how the Israelites are described as survivors who have been made holy. In these verses, we read that the Glory of the Lord will form a canopy over Mount Zion in the form of a cloud of smoke by day and a flaming fire by night, just as the Glory of God hovered over Israel when they first entered the Promised Land.

The Nations Rebel

During the 1,000 Year Reign of Christ, the gates of Israel will always stand open[5] and the survivors from the nations whose armies were defeated at the Battle of Armageddon will come on a yearly basis to Mount Zion to celebrate the festivals and to worship the Lord.[6] During this period, the children of Israel will not depend on an army or great walls for their protection but will trust in God.

Over time, the Inhabitants of the Earth will increase in number and their feigned respect for God and His people will turn to resentment against Christ and Israel. The fear that the nations had for the Lord will turn to hatred and they will conspire to break their chains and throw off the Rule of Christ. The rebellion among the nations will be met with laughter from the Lord who will establish his king on Mount Zion.

Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, “Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.” The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. He rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, “I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.” Ps. 2:1-6

From the Apostle Peter, we learn that the passing of the thousand-year period will cause the Inhabitants of the Earth to deliberately forget how God once destroyed the world by water, and they will scoff at the idea that such an event could happen again or that the Return of Christ will take place as promised. To the Lord, these same events will pass like a day, and He will use the thousand-year period to reward the martyrs of the Great Tribulation and to fulfill His promise to Israel.

Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Pet. 3:3-9


In addition to the growing rebellion that will spread among the nations, when the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from the Abyss and will deceive the nations from the four corners of the earth, who are described as Gog and Magog, into attacking Israel. This event takes us back to the narrative of the Revelation, which describes Satan’s final attempt to destroy God’s people.
     
When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore.  They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. Rev. 20:7-10

In these verses, we learn that the Battle of Gog and Magog will be a separate war from the Battle of Armageddon as can be seen by how this battle will take place when the thousand years are over, and by how we read that the devil will be thrown into the Lake of Burning Sulfur where the Beast and the False Prophet   had been thrown.

The Return of Christ

The fire that comes down from heaven, at the end of the thousand years, will not be limited to the destruction of Satan’s armies alone, but will be part of a much larger fire that will destroy heaven and earth at the Second Coming of Christ.        

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. 2 Pet. 3:10-13

When the Return of Christ takes place, at the end of the thousand years, the armies of Satan will be devoured by the fire, the elements will melt in the heat, and the heavens will disappear with a roar. The destruction of heaven and earth by fire will take place on the Last Day of the Last Days, as no other events can take place on an earth that has been melted in the heat.

The Resurrection of the Dead

The Return of Christ, at the end of the thousand years, will also bring about the resurrection of the rest of the dead who we were not raised in the First Resurrection.

I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Rev. 20:4-6

In these verses, the rest of the dead refers to the rest of the dead in Christ. Those who die without Christ will never come to life but will be resurrected to a Second Death. [7] At the end of the thousand years, the Lord will return, the dead in Christ will be raised, and the earth will be destroyed by fire.

For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 1 Thess. 4:14

The Resurrection of the Dead that will take place at the end of the thousand years is also described in the Gospels, which confirm that the dead will be raised on the Last Day when the heavens and earth are destroyed by fire.

“For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” John. 6:40

“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.” John 6:44

The Living are Caught up

When the rest of the Dead in Christ are raised at the end of the thousand years, those who are alive and left on earth from the First Resurrection will also be caught up in the clouds and, together, they will meet the Lord in the air.

According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 1 Thess. 4:15-17

At the Second Coming of Christ, the Lord, Himself, will return, The rest of the dead in Christ will be raised, and those who are alive and remain on earth will be caught up. Once God’s people are joined with Him in the air, the earth below them will be consumed by fire.

The Day of Judgment

In the Scriptures, the Day of Judgment is also described as taking place on the Last Day when the heavens and earth will be destroyed by fire.

By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. 2 Pet. 3:7

“There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day.” John 12:48


Prior to the world being judged, the unrepentant dead will also be raised to be condemned. 

“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.” John 5:28-29


Being resurrected means that a person is raised from the dead, but it does not mean that they have eternal life. At the Return of Christ, all those who have died will be resurrected but not everyone will rise to everlasting life.

“Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.” Dan. 12:2-3


The resurrection of the unrepentant dead is also described in the first chapter of the Revelation, which tells that when the Lord Returns, every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him, which is a reference to how the dead in Hades will be raised at the Return of Christ.

“Look, he is coming with the clouds, and “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him”;  and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.” So shall it be! Amen. Rev. 1:7

Once the dead are raised, they will be gathered before the Throne of God on the Day of Judgment. The Revelation tells us that on the Day of Judgment, books will be opened including the Book of Life.

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.  The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done.  Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.  Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire. Rev. 20:11-15

A similar vision to what John saw concerning the Day of Judgment was given to the prophet Daniel who also described it as a time when books will be opened and fire will proceed from the Throne of God.

“As I looked, “thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.” Dan. 7: 9-10


When the world gives up her dead on the Day of Judgment, those who were kept under the earth and sea will be brought before the Throne of God to be judged. Anyone whose name is not found in the Book of Life will be judged according to what they had done and will be thrown into the Lake of Fire with Satan, the Beast, and the False Prophet. This is the Second Death.

“But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” Rev. 21:8

Believers Works are Tested

On the Day of Judgment, those whose names are written in the Book of Life will escape from the judgment that leads to the Lake of Fire.

“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.” John 5:24

Even though they will escape from the judgment of the Lake of Fire, God’s people will still have to give an account of themselves on the Day of Judgment.

For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’” So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. Rom. 14:10-12


“But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.” Matt. 12:36

When Believers stand before God’s judgment seat to give an account of themselves, the works they have done on earth will be tested with fire to determine their quality. For some, every work they did on earth will be burned up and they will barely escape through the flames into eternal life.

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames. 1 Cor. 3:11-15


The Test of Fire that will judge the quality of each person’s work will expose the motives of the heart. On the Day of Judgment, the motives of the heart will be revealed and only those motives that pass the Test of Fire will be rewarded by God.

Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God. 1 Cor. 4:5


At the Return of Christ, Satan and his armies will be destroyed by fire, the earth will be melted by fire, the works of believers will be tested by fire, and those whose names are not written in the Book of Life will be thrown into the Lake of Fire along with the Devil, the Beast, and the False Prophet.

Order of Events of the Last Days

1. Wars, Rumors of Wars, Earthquakes, and Famines (Seals 1-4)
2. The Martyrs Pray for Judgment and Revenge (5th. Seal) – The 144,000 are sealed
     – 1/3 of earth is burned up in world-wide drought (1st. Trumpet)
     – 1/3 of sea turns to blood, Satan’s kingdom defeated (2nd. Trumpet)
     – 1/3 of waters are poisoned, Satan cast out (3rd. Trumpet)
     – 1/3 of Israel is struck, the Attack on Jerusalem (4th. Trumpet)
3. The Great Tribulation –
the full number of God’s people are killed
     – The Plague of Locusts (5th. Trumpet)
     – The Plague of Fire, Smoke, and Sulfur (6th. Trumpet)
     – The Seven Bowls of God’s Wrath (Bowls 1 – 5)
     – The kings and generals are gathered at Armageddon (6th Bowl)
4. The Great Earthquake and Severe Hailstorm – the Battle of Armageddon (6th. Seal, 7th. Trumpet, 7th. Bowl)
5. Silence in Heaven
– the enemies of God are defeated (7th. Seal)
6. The 1,000 Year Reign of Christ
     – God’s people reign as priests
7. The Return of Christ
     – The Battle of Gog and Magog
     – The dead are resurrected, and the living are caught up
     – Heaven and earth are destroyed by fire    
8. The Day of Judgment

Footnotes:

[1] Isa. 56:6-7, Mk. 11:17

[2] Josh. 5:6

[3] 1 Chron. 14:17, I Kings 4:20-21

[4] See: 1 Kings Chapter 12

[5] Isa. 60:10-14

[6] Zech. 14:16-19

[7] Rev. 21:8

Revelation Chapter 19
Revelation Chapter 21

Questions and comments may be sent to RevelationStudyGuide@gmail.com