Dr. C.S. Lovett
Did you know the end of this age arrives with a trumpet blast? Along with that trumpet blast is a shout and the voice of the archangel heralding the coming of the Lord Jesus back into SPACE AND TIME. The tumult echoing across the heavens will turn every eye skyward.
What do the people see? A huge cloud stretching across the sky. As it hangs in midair, the watchers realize it is no ordinary cloud. This cloud is made up of people. So many in fact, they appear as a cloud. In the midst of all these people is the Lord Jesus coming in the glory of His Father (Matt. 16:27).
He’s on His way to the New Jerusalem to establish His capitol from which to rule the world. But He won’t descend immediately. There are things He must take care of before descending any further, which means He will be in the air for a while. What is He going to do in the sky? He has to remove every single Christian from the earth, so He can order the seven bowls of God’s wrath poured out on an unbelieving world (Rev. 16:1). He will catch away every believer in the “twinkling of an eye” (1 Cor. 15:52).
You will watch all this from a ringside seat, but don’t worry about falling off the cloud. You will have your glorified body which is not subject to natural laws. There is other business to attend to—the judgment of the Christians (2 Cor. 5:10). That must be done here, so we can all take our places in the kingdom when Jesus occupies the New Jerusalem. At this judgment, we’ll be assigned our future job. The place we give Jesus in this life determines the place He gives us in the next one. Consequently, those jobs will be based on our faithfulness to Christ during our earthly lives.
With the “final exam” behind us, it will be party time. The “Marriage Feast” will be a time of super fellowship. Your glorified body won’t need food. Instead, the real food will be sitting down with Adam, Moses and Paul! No need to hurry. We’re going to be in the sky for days, possibly as many as 45 days.
Yes. The sight in the sky triggers an awesome event on the earth. When the Antichrist/beast sees Jesus on His way to take over the planet, he will immediately summon the kings of the earth to a place called Armageddon (Rev. 16:13-16). It takes time to field a huge army. He wants to head Jesus off at the pass and prevent Him from touching down. (You can read about the New Jerusalem in Chapters 21 and 22 of the Revelation where John presents it as a flashback.)
Will we be at the battle? Yes, but only the Lord will be involved in the combat. He will fight with “the sword of His mouth.” Since God does everything with words, the Lord has only to speak and His enemies will turn their weapons upon each other. The carnage will be awful, with blood flowing for a distance of 180 miles and “as high as the horses bridles” (Rev. 14:20). With their armies gone, the beast and the false prophet are seized and thrown into the lake of fire, which is the second death. God has one more job for the devil, so he is not cast into the lake of fire at this point. Instead he is thrown into the abyss and sealed over, where he will be out of action for 1000 years.
JESUS’ ROD OF IRON
The kingdom is Jesus’ inheritance. He is the HEIR and we are “joint-heirs” with Him (Rom. 8:17). He will rule the nations with a “rod of iron,” since those coming into the kingdom are unsaved people with nothing but their old natures. They are survivors of God’s wrath and the battle of Armageddon, but their numbers will be quite small. They will enter the kingdom to enjoy a life free from the curse, but they will still want to sin; in fact, they will ache to sin. However, that won’t be possible since righteousness is enforced with that “rod of iron” (Rev. 2:27). They will hate that!
With the curse removed (Gen. 3:16-19), the earth is quickly repopulated. New nations will arise. With no pain in childbirth, people can have as many children as they wish. With the earth exploding with food, everyone will have plenty. No one will have to work for a living. With no threat of any kind, the kingdom will be a garden of Eden.
In this setting, unsaved people can only give birth to unsaved children. The salvation program ended when Jesus appeared in the sky. Since He is visible to “every eye,” the SIGHT program replaces the FAITH program. Without argument salvation is by faith (Eph. 2:8). Not one soul will be saved during the 1000 years. Equipped with nothing but that old nature, the drive to sin will be overwhelming. That is why the “rod of iron” is needed.
THE BIG EVENT
After you and I have settled into our kingdom jobs and have learned from Jesus what to expect when we graduate from the kingdom, the 1000 years will be over. The Lord has schooled us and we’re ready to transfer from the physical world to enter eternity. But there is still that one final job for Satan. He is freed from his dungeon to go out and do what he does best—DECEIVE. His target will be to DECEIVE THE NATIONS (Rev. 20:8). Remember these people have had 1000 years to learn about Jesus and the ways of the Lord. So whom will they choose—JESUS OR SATAN? They will come running to Satan. Panting with the expectation of being able to sin, they are deliriously happy when the devil says…
“Come with me and we’ll get rid of all this holiness stuff. There are billions of us and we can capture the New Jerusalem and get rid of Jesus!”
So they come, every last one of them, marching like ants across the broad plain of the earth. There are no mountains now. The satanic army surrounds the City of God, confident of victory.
At this point, God says, “That’s it! I’ve proved my point! I was right in closing the salvation door when I did! Let’s end this right now!”
FIRE FROM HEAVEN
Fire comes down from heaven consuming every one of them. Now they are all physically dead, ready for the final judgment. But what about Satan? He’s finished. God is all through with him so he is cast into the lake of fire where the beast and the false prophet are. There they shall be tormented day and night forever and ever! (Rev. 20:10).
With Satan gone, with all the masses of the millennium dead, what next? That brings us to the grand finale of the human story.
“And I saw a great white throne and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works” (Rev. 20:11 & 12).
Observe how earth and sky FLEE from the presence of the One on the throne. What does that leave? Nothing! Then where does this take place? IN THE SPIRIT. That’s why there is “no place for them.” Earth and sky cannot exist in the spirit, any more than darkness can exist in light. Who are the dead appearing before this throne for judgement? Everyone but us. This includes the dead of all the ages, as well as those consumed by the fire from heaven.
We are there too, but not to be judged. Since Jesus is there, we must be there (1 Thess. 4:17). Besides, we were already judged at the judgment seat of Christ. That took place in the sky before we descended with Jesus. That had to be taken care of before we could reign with him. You see, our kingdom jobs were assigned to us at that time and every job was based on the place we gave Jesus in our earthly lives. See how critical this short time on earth is?
NOTE THE DIFFERENT BOOKS
There is one book, the BOOK OF LIFE in which are written our names—yours and mine. Since we’re at this judgment, we’ll see our names in the book of life—proving that God chose us before the “foundation of the world” (Rev. 17:8). Then there are THE OTHER BOOKS containing the WORKS record of the UNBELIEVING dead. These are opened and EACH PERSON is judged “according to the things he has done”—his works. This judgment is for works only, not for sin. That was dealt with at Calvary (1 John 2:2).
Each person whose name is not in the book of life, is thrown into the lake of fire to suffer according to what he has done. This tells us there are degrees of hell, degrees of torment. If all received the same punishment, what would be the point of a judgment? It wouldn’t make sense, would it? Justice requires that the little old grandmother who didn’t want Jesus, must not suffer the same agony as Adolf Hitler.
Have you found some of these things puzzling? Good. I hope you’ll check them with Scripture. The verses I’ve cited are very convincing in themselves. The human story will not go on indefinitely. It’s coming to an end and I want you to be ready for that moment. You can do that if you put Jesus first in your life! But you won’t put Him first unless. . .
HE IS REAL TO YOU!
C. S. Lovett
(edited by Marjorie Lovett)