The King is Coming...
Tragedies and Natural Disasters
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Accidents and calamities at sea and on land, great fires, huge tornadoes, horrific hail storms, tempests, flooding, cyclones, tsunamis, earthquakes, failed crops and famines, deadly plagues, illnesses of every conceivable kind both among men and animals, increased immorality, whoring and daring sexual abuse, murders, wars and rumours of wars. Why is all of this going on?
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away" (II Timothy 3:1-5).
National borders are being eradicated. The nations of the world, those in Europe included, are uniting. Major companies, banks, stores, etc. are merging, becoming big, powerful entities. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. The poor are being turned into slaves to the manifold sets of regulations of the power elite. The big cities and the technological, computer-driven society are making the world increasingly controlled and artificial.
These are all signs of the times. It was foretold that these things would happen shortly prior to the King of kings, Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world, returning.
So, when will Jesus come again, and what will the manner of His appearing be? Who will be saved and who will be lost? What is the future going to be like? These and other questions will be addressed in this booklet.
Many teach that there will be a secret rapture, that one person will be snatched up to heaven one day and another person the next day. However, what does the bible have to say about this?
"But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come" (Matthew 24:37-42).
These words, coming from the mouth of Jesus, tells us it is only when Jesus returns, that some will be 'taken' (raptured), while others will be left. It is only then, at the return of Jesus, that "the rapture" will occur. Two more Scriptures will confirm this: "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. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other" (Matthew 24:30-31).
"But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord" (I Thessalonians 4:13-17).
This text also informs us that the rapture happens only when Jesus comes to gather His elect. Indeed, this Scripture points out that those living on Earth at the Second Coming will not be raptured before the resurrection of the dead has taken place. Not until then shall those, who died believing in Christ, rise again, and together with the living believers on Earth be 'raptured', at Jesus' return, meeting their Lord in the air. The teaching of people being secretly raptured before the return of Jesus is, therefore, an unbiblical notion.
Today, many believe Jesus will descend once more to this planet, sitting down on the throne of David in Jerusalem. Then, the Jews are supposed to become the special mouthpieces of God, evangelizing the unsaved for a thousand years. This teaching, though, is also altogether unscriptural. Indeed, it is seductive! After all, Jesus Himself states that His kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). Moreover, we already read that when Jesus comes back, all things will have been decided. Then it will have been determined who shall be saved, and who will be lost. There will then be no new probation. It is now we must receive the gift or salvation, or refuse it. When Jesus returns, it will be too late to turn around.
The text we just read, I Thessalonians, chapter 4, verses 13-17, also tells us that Jesus will not touch the ground. It says the saved will be "caught up" or raptured into the clouds. They will meet Jesus in the air, accompanying Him to heaven, together with all the angels of God.
No one should be in doubt that the saved will go to heaven. Revelation chapter 4 says that the throne of God and Christ is in heaven. A little further on we read that the saved were standing before the throne - in heaven (Revelation 7:9). Moving further on in Revelation, we read about the saved at home in God’s kingdom. It says, "And I saw another sign in heaven... And 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, over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God" (Revelation 15:1-2).
Shortly before ascending to heaven, Jesus told His disciples: "I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself" (John 14:2-3).
In His farewell address, He also said the following to His disciples: "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven" (Acts 1:8-11).
These Scriptures, when put together, clearly state that the saved will be taken, raptured, into heaven. Heaven is that fatherland, to which the followers of Jesus look forward. Paul, writing about the heroes of faith, confirmed this: "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city" (Hebrews 11:13-16).Tribulation Before the Second Coming
The Bible makes it plain, that shortly before Jesus returns, all men will be put to a test: Whether to worship God as the Creator, or whether to worship “theBeast”, accepting its “mark” (Revelation 14:6-12). Some suggest that the time of tribulation caused by “the mark of the beast” will be after the rapture. However, the Bible confirms that the saved, at home in God’s kingdom, had fought in the battle over what the Bible terms “the image of the beast” and “the mark of the beast”. John describes it thus: “And 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, over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God” (Revelation 15:2).
Five chapters further in Revelation, John writes about the saved believers who were at home in God’s kingdom. He says, “And I saw thrones, and they that sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4).
The saved - through the power of the Lamb/Christ - achieved the victory over “the Beast”, “the image of the beast” and “the mark of the beast”. Therefore, those living at the Second Coming will have experienced this time of tribulation, i.e. this test, before Jesus comes again. Why, it says all, rich and poor, free and bond, will be confronted by this trial regarding “the mark of the beast” and “the image of the beast” (Revelation 13:15-18. Study this in greater detail in the booklets advertised).
Worshipping God as the Creator, or “the beast” and receiving its “mark”, that will be the final, great test before Jesus returns. Now is the time to decide to say “yes” to Jesus. Then He will provide us with the assistance and the experience with Him necessary to make it through in the difficult days ahead. He will give us the strength and the courage to obey God and His commandments, instead of obeying “the beast” and worshipping it.
A False Messiah
However, let us go back to the return of Jesus. Some say Jesus will come secretly, that He will show Himself to one person here, and another person there. Jesus, though, warns of this deception. He knew that impostures like this would occur, so He said: “Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets; and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:23-27).
Since we have learned that Jesus will not touch the ground at His second coming, we must not allow ourselves to be fooled when somebody claims that Jesus has returned and is in a certain place. Indeed, we already saw that Jesus will come in the clouds of heaven, at the last trump. As clearly and visibly as the lightning flashes across the sky, so clearly and visibly we shall behold Jesus at the Second Coming.
The Bible, you see, describes the return of Jesus like this: “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him” (Revelation 1:7). It cannot be expressed any more straightforwardly - all will see Jesus when He comes back again. We also read that the saved will be ‘raptured’ into the clouds, to meet Jesus in the air. They will not meet Jesus on the ground, but in the air.
Now, what will happen to the saved at the Second Coming? Well, the Bible says they shall all be changed. It is written: "Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: For the trumpet shall sound, and the dead [in Christ] shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 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" (I Corinthians 15:51-54).
Paul also describes the change in these words: "For our conversation [citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself" (Philippians 3:20-21).
The Bible relates that humankind (Adam & Eve) was fashioned in the image of God. They could be in the presence of God. Then, they had possessed a glorious body, allowing them to be in God's presence. As they were disobedient and took the fruit from the forbidden tree, they thereby sinned and lost their glory (Genesis 3:6-9). They no longer could see God and live. Their bodies turned corruptible and mortal. We all have this type of body.
However, God wishes to return men to their original state, where they may be in God's presence without dying. This will happen when Jesus Christ comes to gather His own.The Dead Are in Their Graves
We also read that this mortal must put on immortality. Only God has immortality. The Bible confirms it this way: "Who [God] only hath immortality" (I Timothy 6:16).
When a man dies, he ceases to exist. It is written: "For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun... Whatever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest" (Ecclesiastes 9:5-6, 10).
Therefore, when people are dead, they are as dead as a lifeless stone. They no longer have any life, thoughts, reason or existence. They lie in the ground, becoming dust. That is why there will be yet a miracle, when Jesus raises men from their graves, some to eternal life, others to eternal perdition (Genesis 3:19; John 5:29).
When one of Jesus’ friends, Lazarus, died, and had been in the grave four days, Jesus called his death a sleep. Then He said that Lazarus was dead (John 11:1-44). Therefore, the dead are in their graves - "sleeping". Those who died while believing in Jesus Christ awake at the return of Jesus. However, the ungodly will be raised after the millennium (this will be made clear later).
Just as Jesus raised Lazarus from his tomb, so He will raise His believers from their resting places on resurrection morning. On that occasion, Lazarus received a mortal body, but the saved will get immortal bodies at the Second Coming. We hope and believe Lazarus will be in that throng.
No Resurrection Without the Resurrection of Jesus
Jesus Himself became the firstfruits of the resurrected ones, as He arose from the dead, on the first day of the week (Luke 24:1-6). Paul describes it like this: "But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming" (I Corinthians 15:20-23).Your Right to the Tree of Life
Imagine the saved receiving immortal and incorruptible bodies. Some change - a necessary change! Nobody now can see God and live, but then the saved shall see Him face-to-face (Revelation 22:4). Do you want to experience this change? I think you do. So take hold of the promise right now! God is working in you to say "yes" to Jesus - to make this choice. We must alter our thinking and our attitude toward God now, if we are to become immortal at the Second Coming. We have to take this final stand ourselves, though. God will force no one. This is one fact that proves that God is love.
When you have made this decision, you will also need to pray for power to go on following Him! In His might, we shall go from one victory to another. The promises of victory are plentiful. Here are just a few: "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life" (Revelation 2:10). "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne" (Revelation 3:21). "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 22:14).
The Transformation of the Mind
Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the living saved will have overcome the attacks of the Devil. Moreover, at the Second Coming, they will experience the physical transformation required to go with the Saviour, all the heavenly angels and the resurrected saved ones to heaven. Nevertheless, what about the transformation of the mind? Will that change occur only when Jesus returns, or must it happen before
then? We shall turn to the Word of God for the answer: "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord" (Acts 3:19). "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:38). "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (Romans 12:1-2). "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 2:5). "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God" (Matthew 5:8). "Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully" (Psalms 24:3-4). "And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life" (Revelation 21:27).
At that time, when Jesus returns to gather His elect, there will only be a live "remnant" of God’s people (Zephaniah 3:12-13; Revelation 12:17). These will have refused "the mark of the beast", instead having received "the seal of God" in their foreheads. God will have accepted them as His eternal possession. The Bible describes them in this manner: "And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof" (Ezekiel 9:4). With God’s love burning in their hearts, they will have sighed and cried for all the apostasy among the professed people of God, and they will have warned their fellow men against their apostasy. However, only a remnant of God’s people will repent and follow the Lamb (Christ) wherever He goes. They will have been accepted by God, and received His stamp of approval in their foreheads. In faith, they will have received the pardon and righteousness of Jesus, and they will have got power from the Holy Spirit to do what is right (I John 1:9; 2:29). In a vision, John saw these standing saved, at home on Mount Zion. He describes the traits of their characters thus: "These are they which were not defiled with women [= churches proclaiming unbiblical teachings, 2 Corinthians 11:2]; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb [= Christ, John 1:29] whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God" (Revelation 14:1-5).
All of the Scriptures in this section, and many others, declare to us that the transformation of our minds must happen now. Unless the transformation of our minds occurs before we die, or prior to the Second Coming, we will not be saved, and we shall not be able to follow Jesus back home to heaven. Only those who are "pure in heart" will be taken at His return. These are the "firstfruits", which will be harvested.
The Bible makes it abundantly clear that when the message of warning - incorporating grace and salvation - has been given with a loud voice to the entire world, then Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world, will come in the clouds of heaven (Matthew 24:14; Revelation 14:6-12). Then the time of the harvest will commence. John describes the harvest like this: "And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped" (Revelation 14:14-16).
This Scripture is another proof that when Jesus Christ comes back to gather His own, He will - symbolically speaking - reap a ripe crop. He will harvest those, who - through God's grace and might - have established a character resembling that of Jesus. They will have been transformed, reflecting the goodness, purity, fidelity and loving kindness of Jesus in their lives. Through the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives, they will gladly keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus (Revelation 14:12; I John 5:2-3).
Paul discusses the transformation which should take place in our lives now, while probation still lingers: "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (II Corinthians 3:18). "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit" (Galatians 5:22-25). John puts it this way: "If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him" (I John 2:29). Moreover: "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 22:14). It is the ripe crop - those who have crucified their egos and who through the grace and power of God reveal the character of Christ in their lives - whom Christ is coming to gather.The King of Kings and Lord of Lords
The Bible says that in the end time, all the destructive powers in the world will make war against Christ and those on His side. It is written: “These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful” (Revelation 17:14). At the Second Coming, Jesus will arrive as the King of kings and Lord of lords. He will appear in all His glory: “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. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:30-31).
Here we read that Jesus is going to come “with power and great glory.” The saved, who then will get glorious bodies, will have no trouble with His glorious appearance. They will just be overjoyed, saying, “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation” (Isaiah 25:9).
Just imagine this wonderful day! A day of liberation! A day of salvation! Can you picture what a day for celebrating it will be, both for the dead raised from their graves and for the living saved - as they behold the Saviour coming again! They have preached about it. They have encountered opposition, persecution and death, but what are all difficulties compared to the glory they will soon enjoy!
Now they see the King of kings and Lord of lords coming to gather them. They are bursting with joy, their faces radiant with happiness. No pen can describe the gladness that will fill the saved, as they see their beloved Saviour, the host of angels and their loved ones, who had been true to their Lord even unto death. All eyes will focus on the Saviour, and we have already seen in God’s Word that the saved will be raptured into the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. What a marvellous thing to be transported into the air, glorified, free and saved. Now they are safe with God. Their enemies no longer can afflict them. They are now in secure hands.
As they are lifted up in the sky, passing through the constellation of stars, leaving behind the Milky Way, galaxies and planets, entering the heavenly city, they can breathe a sigh of happy relief: Saved, saved at last through the blood of the Lamb! Now they can relax.
There will be no Devil, no persecutors, no criminals or human commandments here. Peace, love, happiness, friendliness reign here... all the fruits of the Spirit are evident.The Millennium - Court Proceedings in Heaven
The Bible says the saved will spend a thousand years in heaven. It is written, “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4). This verse corresponds to 1 Corinthians 6:2: “Do ye not know that the saints [= the saved] shall judge the world?”
So the saved will sit in judgment in heaven. Whom will they judge? The cases of the saints have already been determined - in favour of the saved. Jesus has faithfully examined their lives. The Bible describes the commencement of the court proceedings like this: “I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened” (Daniel 7:9-10).
Paul makes it clear that individuals must give an account of themselves: “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12). We are not lost or saved as groups, but individually.
Most people living on Earth at the Second Coming will not be taken to heaven. By that time, their perdition will have been determined.
However, they will not have been handed their final verdict. Now the saints will be allowed to study the heavenly records and see for themselves, that the lost have had a fair trial. Perhaps some husband will be missing his wife, and will be wondering why she did not make it to heaven? In the books of heaven, all things are recorded, and the saved are going to judge the world. They must be assured that all have been judged justly. You know, we can only judge people by their words and actions, whereas God judges our hearts. He knows about each and every unconfessed sin. All transgressions have been precisely recorded in the books of heaven, and the saints will then be given access to these.
The unsaved will be judged according to their works, or actions. This raises a rather personal question: Would you like others reviewing your life? Would you like them to see all your wrongdoings? That particular sin you committed, without other people knowing about it?
Unless you want the saints to take a very good look at the dark episodes of your existence, you had now better decide to place all your sin on Jesus, so that He can atone for it.
Salvation is offered conditionally. Jesus has done all to make you and ourselves immortal, but it is up to you and us to accept the gift of salvation. The Saviour’s invitation is plain: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9). Dear friend, do not let sin remain in your life. Lay it at Jesus’ feet. Pray for grace and boldness to make matters right again with the one you have sinned against and Jesus will grant you your definite pardon. Then you will be free from sin, and by abiding in Jesus, you will be one of those judging the world, instead of having your life screened and being condemned. May God help us all not to be hard-hearted or proud, but to humble ourselves before the Lord. Humility precedes honour. It is now, while probation still lasts, that we must humble ourselves before the Lord, so that we may be cleansed in the blood of the Lamb, standing ready for His return.Satan Bound for a Thousand Years
Now we have seen that the saved will spend one thousand years in heaven, and that they will sit in judgment. What about the ungodly, are they going to spend the millennium on Earth, while the saints are in heaven, or what will happen to the unconverted?
We read that at the Second Coming, Jesus will appear in all His glory. The saved will endure that brightness, but according to the Bible, only the pure in heart will be able to see God. Those without pure hearts and glorified bodies will not see God and live. Therefore, at the Second Coming, the ungodly will die at the brightness of His arrival. The Bible describes the return of Jesus thus: “And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 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 sitteth 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?” (Revelation 6:14-17). Only the saints will be able to stand, only they will see the face of God and live, because their hearts will be pure and they will have received glorified bodies. The others will possess corrupt and mortal bodies, and their hearts will be full of sin. They will not endure the glorious sight of Jesus’ appearance. Hence they will die. They will call on the mountains and the rocks: “Fall on us and hide us from the sight of Him.”
Therefore, the ungodly will die at the sight of Jesus returning. Having nobody to tempt, Satan will therefore wander about on the earth having no one to tempt. The Bible describes his situation like this: “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season” (Revelation 20:1-3). Satan will then be bound by the circumstances. He will have no one to deceive. The saved will be in heaven and the ungodly will be dead, following the return of Jesus. The Bible describes the scene in these terms: “Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it” (Isaiah 13:9). The prophet Zephaniah describes the situation like this: “The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, 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 wasteness 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” (Zephaniah 1:14-18). We will also include a statement about this state of affairs from the prophet Jeremiah: “I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the LORD, and by his fierce anger” (Jeremiah 4:23-26).Following the Millennium
So what will happen after the 1,000 years? Well, the ungodly dead will raise from their graves. This will be another resurrection, the second resurrection. The Bible describes it in these words: “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished” (Revelation 20:5). Once more, after the one thousand years, there will be masses of people on the Earth. It will be filled by unsaved persons, those who refused Jesus and would not follow in His steps (I Peter 2:21-24). As they rise again, though in no glorified bodies, as the saints did, they rise again just as they were here on Earth, with their desires, thoughts of revolt and ambition intact. However, not only the unsaved will be active again. Satan, too, is loosed out of his prison. Then he will suddenly have many to deceive once more. The Bible tells the story: “And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison” (Revelation 20:7). It continues saying, “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. And they 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” (Revelation 20:8-9).
This is the Gog and Magog War. Some teach that this war will be fought prior to the 1,000 years, but we just read that the war will occur after the millennium. That is when Satan will gather all the ungodly to march against the beloved city, the New Jerusalem, which by then will have come down from heaven, like a bride adorned for her husband.
The Bible tells about this city in the second from last chapter in Revelation: “And 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 New Jerusalem Settles on the Mount of Olives
The prophet Zechariah writes that the heavenly city, New Jerusalem, will descend onto the Mount of Olives. It is written: “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. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee“ (Zechariah 14:4-5).
Here we see that the saints, having spent 1,000 years in heaven, will be there when the heavenly city, New Jerusalem, descends on the Mount of Olives. It says, does it not, that “the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee”? Therefore, the saints will then once more step onto the Earth. However, before God will create a new heaven and a new Earth, wherein righteousness will dwell, the Gog and Magog War will occur. We read that Satan will march towards the heavenly city, New Jerusalem. He will gather all the unsaved for battle against God, heavenly angels and the saved. Satan and the unsaved will, moreover, surround the city to capture it. Then, though, something unexpected and decisive will happen. Fire will come down from heaven and devour them. Thus Satan and his angels, plus all the people who have declined to accept Jesus as their personal Saviour, will be cast in the lake of fire where the “beast” and “the false prophet” are, and they will be burned and be ashes. (Revelation 20: 7-10 and Malaki 4:1-3). Then they will experience the results of their choices. They chose their own way, not the way of Jesus. Then they will ask their leaders: Why did you lead us along wrong paths? Why did you lead us to believe we could sin, and swing, and celebrate, and still end up being saved? Why did you preach a “peace-and-safety” message? Then it will be too late. Then they will be lost, facing eternal perdition.
In his second epistle, Peter writes that “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” (II Peter 3:10).
John writes: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Revelation21:8). As we saw, the Bible terms the lake of fire the second death (Revelation 20:14). If anything should be called hell that is it, the terrible sufferings of the ungodly. According to the Bible, “they were judged every man according to their works” (Revelation 20:12-13). “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15).
The prophet Malachi describes the punishment in the lake of fire thus: “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch” (Malachi 4:1).
The wicked will burn like straw. A raw and thick piece of straw can burn for a long while. In contrast, a small and dry piece of straw can burn for a short while. This illustrates that some will receive a long sentence (time of suffering), whereas others will receive a short sentence or suffering. They will be sentenced according to their works. Satan will get the most severe punishment. Their punishment and suffering in the lake of fire will end in death. That will take care of the cause of evil. The godless, along with evil, disappear in the cleansing fire - both root and branch, Satan being the root, and his followers the branches. The punishment of the law will be accomplished, the demands of righteousness fulfilled. Heaven and Earth will proclaim that God is righteous. There will then be no more death and pain, mourning and frustration, covetousness, whoring, etc., because the cause of evil will then have been eradicated.A New Heaven and a New Earth
During this period, God is going to create a new heaven and a new Earth. John portrays the result of this marvellous, new act of creation like this: “And 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” (Revelation 21:1). All that was lost because of sin will then be renewed. The new Earth will be the eternal abode of the saved. “The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever”, writes the Psalmist in Psalms 37:29.
“A fear of making the future inheritance seem too material has led many to spiritualise away the very truths which lead us to look upon it as our home. Christ assured His disciples that He went to prepare mansions for them in the Father’s house. Those who accept the teachings of God’s word will not be wholly ignorant concerning the heavenly abode. Yet, ‘eye hath not seen, or ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.’ 1 Corinthians 2:9. Human language is inadequate to describe the reward of the righteous. It will be known only to those who behold it. No finite mind can comprehend the glory of the Paradise of God. In the Bible, the inheritance of the saved is called ‘a country.’ Hebrews 11:14-16. There the heavenly Shepherd leads His flock to fountains of living waters. The tree of life yields its fruit every month, and the leaves of the tree are for the service of the nations. There are ever-flowing streams, clear as crystal, and beside them waving trees cast their shadows upon the paths prepared for the ransomed of the Lord. There the wide-spreading plains swell into hills of beauty, and the mountains of God rear their lofty summits. On those peaceful plains, beside those living streams, God’s people, so long pilgrims and wanderers shall find a home. ‘My people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.’ ‘Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise.’ ‘They shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: ... Mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.’ Isaiah 32:18; 60:18; 65:21, 22. There, ‘the wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.’ ‘Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree.’ ‘The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; ... and a little child shall lead them.’ ‘They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,’ saith the Lord. Isaiah 35:1; 55:13; 11:6, 9. Pain cannot exist in the atmosphere of heaven. There will be no more tears, no funeral trains, and no badges of mourning. ‘There shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying: ... for the former things are passed away.’ ‘The inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity.’ Revelation 21:4; Isaiah 33:24. There is the New Jerusalem, the metropolis of the glorified new earth, ‘a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.’ ‘Her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.’ ... Saith the Lord: ‘I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My people.’ ‘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.’ Isaiah 62:3; Revelation 21:11 […]; Isaiah 65:19; Revelation 21:3. In the city of God, ‘there shall be no night.’ None will need or desire repose. There will be no weariness in doing the will of God and offering praise to His name. We shall ever feel the freshness of the morning and shall ever be far from its close. ‘And they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light.’ Revelation 22:5. The light of the sun will be superseded by a radiance which is not painfully dazzling, yet which immeasurably surpasses the brightness of our noontide. The glory of God and the Lamb floods the Holy City with unfading light. The redeemed will walk in the sunless glory of perpetual day. ‘I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.’ Revelation 21:22. It is the privilege of the people of God to hold open communion with the Father and the Son. ‘Now we see through a glass, darkly.’ 1 Corinthians 13:12. We behold the image of God reflected, as in a mirror, in the works of nature and in His dealings with men; but then we shall see Him face to face, without a dimming veil between. We shall stand in His presence and behold the glory of His countenance.The Triumph of God's Love
There the redeemed shall know, even as also they are known. The love and sympathy which God Himself has planted in the soul shall there find truest and sweetest exercise. The pure communion with holy beings, the harmonious social life with the blessed angels, with the faithful ones of all ages who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, the sacred ties that bind together ‘the whole family in heaven and earth’ (Ephesians 3:15) - these help to constitute the happiness of the redeemed. There, immortal minds will contemplate with never-failing delight the wonders of creative power, the mysteries of redeeming love. There will be no cruel, deceiving foe to tempt to forgetfulness of God. Every faculty will be developed, every capacity increased. The acquirement of knowledge will not weary the mind or exhaust the energies. There the grandest enterprises may be carried forward, the loftiest aspirations reached, the highest ambitions realized; and still there will arise new heights to surmount, new wonders to admire, new truths to comprehend, fresh objects to call forth the powers of mind and soul and body.
All the treasures of the universe will be open to the study of God’s redeemed. Unfettered by mortality, they wing their tireless flight to worlds afar - worlds that thrilled with sorrow at the spectacle of human woe and rang with songs of gladness at the tidings of a ransomed soul. With unutterable delight, the children of earth enter into the joy and the wisdom of unfallen beings. They share the treasures of knowledge and understanding gained through ages upon ages in contemplation of God’s handiwork. With undimmed vision, they gaze upon the glory of creation - suns and stars and systems, all in their appointed order circling the throne of Deity. Upon all things, from the least to the greatest, the Creator’s name is written, and in all are the riches of His power displayed. As the years of eternity roll, they will bring richer and still more glorious revelations of God and of Christ. As knowledge is progressive, so will love, reverence, and happiness increase. The more men learn of God, the greater will be their admiration of His character. As Jesus opens before them the riches of redemption and the amazing achievements in the great controversy with Satan, the hearts of the ransomed thrill with more fervent devotion, and with more rapturous joy they sweep the harps of gold; and ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of voices unite to swell the mighty chorus of praise.
‘And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.’ Revelation 5:13.
The great controversy is ended. Sin and sinners are no more. The entire universe is clean. One pulse of harmony beats through the vast creation. From Him who created all, flow life and light and gladness, throughout the realms of illimitable space. From the minutest atom to the greatest world, all things, animate and inanimate, in their unshadowed beauty and perfect joy, declare that God is love“ (E. G. White in her book, The Great Controversy, pp. 674-678).
On the Threshold of Eternity
The signs of the times tell us, with the intensity of a person shouting from a rooftop, that Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world, is coming again soon. While we are waiting, though, we will be going through a great struggle. The struggle between good and evil will intensify until the end of time. The last events will be rapid ones, like the birth pangs of an expecting woman (Zephaniah 1:14; Romans 9:28; I Thessalonians 5:1-3).
Hence, it is vitally important that we decide now to stand with Jesus from day to day, from hour to hour, from minute to minute, from second to second. Jesus came to this Earth to be our Example. He was God, but humbled Himself and clad His divinity in humanity. Although He was God, He came as a human (John 1:1-3, 14; Philippians 2:5-8). As a person, He showed us how to overcome. Exactly as Jesus while on Earth had to gain His power from God to live a life without sinning, so we may find the strength in every emergency to gain the victory. Just as a branch is required to have a firm connection to the tree trunk to live, so we have to enjoy a continuous connection to Jesus in order not to sin. If we sin, we are to blame, not Jesus (John 15:4-5). He never lets you down! If we fall, we must immediately return to Jesus and get hold of His outstretched hand, repent, admit our sin and accept Jesus’ pardon, so that we may regain a saving relationship with Him (I John 2:1-2).Your Mind Must Be Cleansed Before the Second Coming
The Bible says that nothing that defiles will be admitted into the kingdom of God (Revelation 21:27). Therefore, at the Second Coming, Jesus will not appear to save us in our sins, or to cleanse our minds from all filth. No, the cleansing must be done before Jesus returns, if we are to follow Him when He arrives to gather His own (I Thessalonians 5:23; Ephesians 1:4; 5:27; Revelation 7:14; 14:1-5). Jesus died for us. His blood was shed on the cross of Calvary for you and for us. However, only whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). Let us accept this offer of both grace and salvation now, and let us receive His might to live in newness of life! He has enough power!Always Be Ready!
Let us at all times try to do the will of God and have our minds turned heavenwards. Then we will go from one victory to the next in our Christian lives. In the last great conflict, those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, will not accept “the mark of the beast”, but - through God’s grace - will receive “the seal of God” in their foreheads (Revelation 13:16; 14:9-10; Ezekiel 9:4; Revelation 7:2-4; 22:14). Our prayer is that you and we always will be ready. Then we will accompany Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world, to our heavenly home, when He soon will come with His holy angels to gather His loyal people (I Thessalonians 4:15-17). We hope to meet you there!
Yours very sincerely,
Bente and Abel Struksnæs
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