The millennium #10: How the millennial reign ends. Revelation 20:5-21:8
The millennial reign of Christ lasts for 1000 years. By definition therefore it will come to an end. But how does it end and what happens then?
Several distinct matters are set before us in this passage that mark the end of that millennial kingdom, which also mark the transition from time to the eternal state. Cp 1Cor 15:23-26.
I THE FINAL REBELLION ON EARTH.
- The release of Satan, v7. Cp v1-2. A change now occurs in the experience of the devil. Restraint had been placed upon him and his influence over men. That restraint is again lifted. He is not under such restraint now, 1 Peter 5:8.
- Deception, v8. The devil is an inveterate deceiver and is unchanged by his incarceration. His desire to corrupt the earth and foment rebellion against God and His Christ continues. This rebellion occurs among the nations of the earth. The fact that these vast numbers of men yield to the influence of Satan and rebel against the Lord testifies to the presence of unregenerate wicked men in the earth during the millennial period.
- Battle. Conflict is the inevitable result of rebellion against King Jesus. This is an act of war against God. The target is Jerusalem which is the seat of Divine rule and worship in the earth. The Lord permits this as Sovereign.
- A fiery end. The rebellion ends in fiery destruction for all who participate in it. This is not the fire of 2Thess 1:8. The devil is cast into the lake of fire at this point, v10.
II THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGEMENT.
- The resurrection of the wicked dead, v5, 12-13. There is only one class of men who appear at this judgement. They are raised but dead—spiritually dead. They are brought from hell—God’s remand prison—to face final sentencing. Their bodies are prepared to endure that punishment which would otherwise be instantly destructive.
- Judged according to the books, v12, 15. Two kinds of books feature at this point. The Lamb’s book of life which contains the recorded names of those He died to save; and the books which contain the records of the works of these evil men. The one book proves them not to be among the redeemed and the other proves them worthy of wrath. These are two vital aspects of the punishment of the wicked. Non-election is never the sole basis of wrath apart from wicked works.
- A single verdict, v14. This is the final sentence of God upon sin.
- The terrible judge, v11-12. The face of God revealed in Christ as the Judge.
III THE NEW HEAVENS AND THE NEW EARTH.
- The old order is changed. Cp 20:11, 21:1, 4-5, 2Pet 3:10-13, Heb 1:10-12.
- The location for the heavenly city for eternity, v2-3. It is now on earth and not merely near earth as it has been for the millennial period.
- The climax of redemption. There is no more death. No more suffering. The complete satisfaction of the redeemed. A further analogy of the experience of the redeemed is seen in the reference to the bride/bridegroom. The millennium may be seen as the marriage supper while the eternal state is seen as the ongoing ‘married life’ of the redeemed with Christ.
- A final description of the eternal states of men, v7-8.