We are living through interesting times, aren’t we? You turn on the news and you see Russia aligning itself more closely with Iran and Turkey (something the Bible prophesied would happen in the last days in Ezekiel 38–39). You turn the channel, and you learn that pay-with-your-palm-technology is coming to a store near you soon. That sounds similar to something the Bible prophesied would happen in the Book of Revelation 13:16–17. You change the channel and hear about the rise in anti-Semitism. That’s interesting because Zechariah 12:3 said that would be happening in the last days. Looking for something a little more lighthearted, you change the channel only to hear of rumors of wars and a rise in lawlessness and violent crime. And all of this on the heels of a global pandemic!
These kinds of things have many people wondering:
• What’s going on?
• Does the Bible speak about these things?
• Could Jesus be coming back soon?
• What does the Bible say about the future?
In this article, I’d like for us to look at what the Bible says about the future. But rather than diving deep into a lot of specifics, I’d like to give you sort of a broad, concise, chronological overview of . . .
TEN END TIMES EVENTS IN THE BIBLE
My hope is that this will help you have a better understanding of what the Bible says about the future, and that God would use this post to help you reevaluate how you’re living your life. That’s one of the primary reasons God has revealed what’s going to happen in the future. The prophecies in the Bible are not there to entertain the curious. God has graciously revealed what’s going to happen in the future so that we might live out our lives more wisely. So, let’s consider these.
1. SOCIETAL DEGENERATION
The Bible tells us very clearly that “in the last days” there are going to be difficult times.
2 Timothy 3:1
“But know this, that in the last days perilous [difficult] times will come . . . ”
Pause there. Notice that. Paul doesn’t say, “Hey, in the last days before Jesus returns, things are going to be amazing! Everybody’s going to be getting along. Economies are going to be roaring. Christians will be enjoying unprecedented religious freedom.”
No. God revealed to Paul that “the last days” would be difficult. But why? Why are things going to be difficult? Paul tells us in verse two . . .
2 Timothy 3:2–5
For men will be lovers of themselves [self-centered], lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers [scoffing at God], disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers [falsely and maliciously accusing people], without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong [reckless], haughty [conceited], lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness [appearing religious] but denying its power [they will reject the power that could make them godly] . . . ”
These are some of the reasons “the last days” will be difficult. People are going to be lovers of money, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, etc. Could this be said of many people today? Is this the way people are behaving? It sure seems that way, doesn’t it? I’m not going to give you a bunch of statistics that demonstrate that all this godlessness is on the rise. You don’t need statistics. We’re swimming in this kind of stuff. We see it all over the place. This is what the Bible said would be happening in the last days. I call it societal degeneration. It’s what happens when societies turn away from God.
So, when we turn on the news and hear about some of the awful things going on, it doesn’t surprise us. The Bible already told us that the world would be like this “in the last days” (2 Tim. 3:1). It’s grieving to see it unfold, but as Christians, we don’t despair. We don’t fear.
The devil would love to immobilize Christians with desperation and fear . . . get us out of fellowship . . . make us ineffective. But we resist the temptation to do that, and instead:
• We pray
• We stay in fellowship with other believers
• We study the Bible
• We trust the Lord
• We share the gospel with people
• We vote
• We do all we can to be salt and light
And one of these days, maybe soon, right in the midst of all the things mentioned in 2 Timothy 3, a trumpet is going to blast, and Jesus is coming back for His people.
2. THE RAPTURE
This is an imminent event. By that, I mean that it could happen at any time. There are no Biblical prophecies that need to be fulfilled before this event could happen. It could happen today. (I layout several reasons I believe the Rapture will happen prior to the Tribulation in a separate article. Click here.)
The classic passage concerning this event is found in First Thessalonians 4 . . .
1 Thessalonians 4:16
“For the Lord Himself [Jesus] will descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.”
Let’s pause there for a moment. There is coming a time when Jesus Christ will “descend from heaven” (v. 16) to gather His people. At this event, the Bible says that the “dead in Christ will rise first.”
Who are “the dead in Christ”? That’s a reference to Christian believers who have died. When Jesus descends from Heaven to gather His people, these peoples’ bodies are going to be resurrected. But maybe you’re thinking, “Hold on a second here Charlie, I thought Christians went right into the presence of God when they die.” If you’ve thought that, you’re right. A Christian’s spirit does go into the presence of God. Jesus told the repentant thief on the cross . . .
“Truly I say to you, today you shall be with me in Paradise.”
The very day this man died, He would be with Jesus in Paradise. In 2 Corinthians 5:8, the apostle Paul wrote “we are of good courage, I say, and prefer to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.”
So, that’s what happens to those who have trusted in Jesus Christ when their bodies die. Their spirits go to be with the Lord. Their bodies are laid to sleep in the ground.
When Jesus descends from Heaven to meet us in the clouds, their bodies (whether they’ve been buried or even cremated) will “rise” (1 Thess. 4:16). They will be resurrected and reunited to their spirits that have been with the Lord since the time of their death. Okay, then what?
1 Thessalonians 4:17
“Then [immediately after the dead in Christ are raised] we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air . . . ”
Note those two English words “caught up” there in verse 17. Those two words are the English translation of the Greek word “harpazo” or rapturo in Latin, from which we get our English word “Rapture.”
The leading Greek lexicon says this word harpazo (“caught up”) can be correctly translated as:
• to snatch
• to seize
• to take suddenly and vehemently (i.e., to take or carry off by force)
This word harpazo is used 13 times in the New Testament. It’s used of . . .
• Paul being caught up into Heaven (2 Cor. 12:2–4)
• Philip, when Luke writes that “the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away” and brought him to another place (Acts 8:39)
• Jesus’ ascension into Heaven (Rev. 12:5; cf. Acts 1:11)
In light of the way the word harpazo is used in the New Testament, there can be no doubt that it is describing an actual removal of people from the Earth when used here in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. So, that is what is going to happen to a generation of people who have put their faith in Jesus Christ and who are “alive” (1 Thess. 4:17) on the Earth at the time this event occurs. They (perhaps us) are going to escape death and be “seized,” “carried off,” and “caught up” “to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thess. 4:17). How amazing will that be to see our Savior, Jesus, for the first time? I can hardly wait.
Now, something astounding happens as we ascend to meet the Lord. This is spoken about in 1 Corinthians 15 . . .
1 Corinthians 15:51
“Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep [a euphemism, a figure of speech, to say we shall not all die], but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of a eye . . . ”
When Jesus comes, His followers are going to be changed in the blink of an eye. Our mortal “earthy” bodies, that are subject to death and disease and so forth, will “be changed” into incorruptible, immortal “heavenly” bodies (1 Cor. 15:48) . . . bodies that will be fit for Heaven, fit for eternity. Aren’t you looking forward to that? Everyone over 40 says, “Amen!”
Well, what happens next? Where will Jesus take those who are alive when this glorious event takes place? Back to His Father’s house in Heaven. Jesus told His disciples that in the upper room the night before His crucifixion. He assured them in John 14:2–3, “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places . . . 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 to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
Why would Jesus remove us from the Earth? To deliver us “from the wrath to come” (1 Thess. 1:10) because “God did not appoint us to wrath” (5:9). What is the wrath to come? God’s judgment that will be poured out on the world during the tribulation. I’ll talk more about this shortly.
So, Jesus will deliver His followers from this wrath and usher us to Heaven, where we will enjoy fellowship with Him and all our friends and family who knew the Lord. What a wonderful reunion that is going to be. Do you have loved ones in Heaven? Christian, you are going to be with them again. What a blessing that will be.
3. THE BELIEVER’S DAY OF REWARDS
This event is also commonly referred to as “The Bema Seat Judgment,” and we’ll see why here shortly. This “day of rewards” for believers is mentioned among other places in 2 Corinthians 5:10 . . .
2 Corinthians 5:10
“For we [the context is speaking of believers] must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”
The Greek word there for “judgment seat” (in v. 10) is the word “bema.” Why did Paul call this place where Jesus will be seated “the bema” (2 Cor. 5:10)? The bema in Paul’s day was the name of the raised platform with steps that led up to it in the Grecian arenas, where the umpire or the ruler of the people sat. And it was from the bema seat that the rewards were given out to the contestants.
The original recipients of Paul’s letter, in the city of Corinth, would have immediately understood what Paul was speaking of. In fact, the ruins of the bema seat that stood in the city of Corinth in the first century still stand today.
Brothers and sisters, according to the Bible (2 Cor. 5:10), there is coming a time when all believers will stand before Jesus Christ at the heavenly bema seat. Note that the Bible says, “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ” (2 Cor. 5:10).
Now, some of you might be thinking, “Hold on a second, Charlie, you’re making me nervous. What’s the purpose of standing at the bema judgment seat? I thought Christians were forgiven of their sins and weren’t going to be judged for their sins!”
If you’ve thought that, you’re right. If you have placed your trust in Jesus Christ, you won’t be judged for your sins (John 5:24); Jesus already received your judgment on the cross. Praise the Lord for that! The bema seat judgment will not be a judgment of condemnation but a judgment of evaluation. It will be a place where Jesus will evaluate how you used the gifts, the talents, the opportunities, the resources, and so on, that He put into your care. Why the evaluation? Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 3 . . .
1 Corinthians 3:13–15 “But there is going to come a time of testing at the judgment day to see what kind of work each builder has done. Everyone’s work [not the person but their work] will be put through the fire to see whether or not it keeps its value. If the work survives the fire, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss.”
So Christian, one day the Lord is going to evaluate what you’ve done with the gifts and talents, the resources He’s given you. Your good works will be rewarded. Those works that were perhaps done with impure motives will be burned up. So, I encourage you: Don’t waste your life. Find a way to use some of your gifts and talents for the Lord. Be on the lookout for ways to serve the Lord. In eternity, you will never regret having lived your life wisely and wholeheartedly for the Lord! You never will. So, we have 1. Societal Degeneration 2. The Coming of Christ for His People 3. The Believer’s Day of Rewards. What will be happening on the Earth while we are with the Lord in Heaven? That’s the fourth major event I want to discuss . . .
4. THE TRIBULATION
After the Rapture, a man energized by Satan will rise to power in Europe, the iron and clay feet in Nebuchadnezzar’s vision of a revived Roman Empire (Daniel 2, 7, 9). He’s known as the “Antichrist.” As this man is gaining political, economic, and religious control over the world, even declaring himself to be God (2 Thess. 2:4), the true and living God will begin pouring out a series of judgments on a sinful, unrepentant, Christ-rejecting world.
Speaking of this time, in Matthew 24, Jesus said . . .
“For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will again.”
Some of God’s judgments upon the world will include . . .
• Deadly famines (Rev. 6:8)
• Huge out of control fires (Rev. 8:7)
• An asteroid (“something like a great mountain burning with fire” Rev. 8:8) that crashes into the sea and kills a third of the creatures in the sea and destroys a third of the world’s ships (Rev. 8:9), probably the result of massive tsunamis
• Demons will be unleashed and permitted to torment unbelievers for five months (Rev. 9:1–5)
• A prolonged drought (Rev. 11:6)
• Incurable, open, oozing sores on the worshipers of the Antichrist—people who take the mark of the beast (Rev. 16:2)
• Everything in the ocean will be killed (Rev. 16:3)
• People will be “scorched with great heat” (Rev. 16:8–9)
• Darkness across the planet (Rev. 16:10)
• A worldwide earthquake so powerful, the Bible says the cities of the nations will fall (Rev. 16:19) islands will disappear, and mountains are going to crumble (Rev. 16:20)
• “Huge hailstones, about one hundred pounds each [that] come down from heaven upon men . . . ” (Rev. 16:21)
By the end of the Tribulation, the Earth, its environment, and its population are going to be devastated. The Book of Revelation tells us that more than half of the world’s population will die during this time (Rev. 6:7–8 and 9:13–15). Can you imagine the widespread panic and fear people will experience?
Now, what amazes me is that even in the midst of this time of judgment, God is going to continue to make salvation and forgiveness possible. Revelation 14:6–7 says there will be an angel who will fly around “carrying the everlasting Good News to preach to the people who belong to this world—to every nation, tribe, language, and people.”
That is one of the primary purposes of the Tribulation: to wake people up. If people will not come to their senses and repent right now during this age of grace when God is mercifully withholding these judgments, then God, not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9), will shake things up some. As a result, the Bible tells us that multitudes will turn to Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins and the salvation of their souls (Rev. 7:14). We rejoice over that, but unfortunately, many of those people will also suffer intense persecution and death for not worshipping the Antichrist. Revelation 13 makes it clear that his government will be killing people who refuse to worship him (Rev. 13:7, v. 15).
How much better it would be to place your faith in Jesus today and to not be here when these events take place. I urge you to do that if you haven’t.
All right, moving along, the fifth major event on the prophetic calendar I want us to briefly consider is . . .
5. THE INVASION OF EZEKIEL 38 & 39
I and many Bible commentators believe there are good reasons to conclude that this event will happen sometime during the first 3.5 years of the Tribulation (see Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come, 347; Mark Hitchcock, The End, 306).
Let’s consider this passage. Ezekiel prophesied in Ezekiel 38 and 39 that “in the latter years” (38:8) the Jews would be gathered back into their homeland and then eventually invaded by a massive military force. Of course, as many of you know, the prophecy about the Jews being gathered back to their homeland has been fulfilled. This is one of the indicators we are living in the last days.
Since that time, when Israel was declared a nation in 1948, Israel has been attacked by her neighboring countries several times, but nothing on the scale of what Ezekiel prophesied would happen.
In this amazing section of Scripture, Ezekiel tells us the very countries that will invade Israel:
• Persia + some others
That is what the countries were called in Ezekiel’s day. Today those countries have names like . . .
That’s interesting. Could this massive military invasion be right around the corner? It certainly could be. All of these nations, with the exception of Russia, have one thing in common today. What is that? Islam, and a burning, demonically inspired hatred of the Jewish people. I don’t know if you’re following what’s happening in the Middle East much these days, but it appears to many students of prophecy that the stage is being set for the invasion of Ezekiel 38–39.
This invasion could be coming soon, which is interesting, because if the events of Ezekiel 38–39 are getting close, and they happen after the Rapture . . . well, you can see why more and more Christians are thinking Jesus could be coming for us sooner than later. We’ll have to wait and see.
Now, it very well could be that when Jesus comes for His people and millions of Christians vanish, America will crumble as a world power. With America on its heels, Israel’s enemies may think it will be the perfect time to destroy the Jews. They’ve made it abundantly clear that they desire to wipe out Israel. But boy, will they be in for a surprise when they try to pull it off.
Ezekiel 38 and 39 tell us that God will use a massive earthquake, a plague, and hailstones mixed with fire and burning sulfur to quickly and totally destroy every last soldier (Ezk. 39:4). The devastation will be so overwhelming and so obviously the result of divine intervention that God says this in . . .
“I will display my greatness and my holiness and make Myself known in the sight of many nations; and they will know that I am the LORD.”
The world is going to realize in a powerful way when they turn on the news, that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is alive and well.
Now, it may be the total destruction of these invading armies that allows the Jews to rebuild their temple on the temple mount in Jerusalem. We are confident the Jews will rebuild their temple. Why?
2 Thessalonians 2:4 tells us that the Antichrist will one day “take his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God” (see also Matt. 24:15). Daniel 9:27 says the Antichrist “will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering.” So, verses like those lead us to conclude that there will be a rebuilt Jewish temple during the Tribulation.
The Jewish people would love to rebuild their temple. What’s stopping them? Islamic opposition and the “Dome of the Rock.” Muslims built the Dome of the Rock in the year 691 on the temple mount, the place where the Jewish temple sat before the Romans destroyed it in A.D. 70.
When the armies of the invading countries mentioned in Ezekiel are wiped out (Ezk. 39), Israel might decide to finally move forward with its temple plans right there on the temple mount, either in the place of the Dome of the Rock or just to the north, where there is plenty of room for both structures. And the Antichrist, possessed by the devil, will likely aid the process, for he longs to stand in the temple and declare himself to be God.
All right, the sixth major event on the prophetic timeline that we’ll consider is . . .
6. THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON
The word Armageddon is a word that comes from two Hebrew words—“Har” which means mountain or hill, and “Megiddo,” the name of an ancient city in the northern part of Israel. Put those two words together and you have Har-Megiddo, or in English, Armageddon. So the word Armageddon literally means “The Mount of Megiddo.”
Mount Megiddo is located about 10 miles south of Nazareth (where Jesus grew up) and 15 miles inland from the Mediterranean Sea. We use the word “Armageddon” as a way of referring to the Battle that the Bible says will transpire there near the end of the Tribulation period.
The resulting disorder brought on by all of the disasters (God’s judgments) during the Tribulation is actually going to create opposition to the Antichrist (Daniel 11:40–45).
Because he will be unable to fulfill his promises of peace, a worldwide revolution will take place and major portions of the world will rebel against his authority. This climaxes in a gigantic war that begins to unfold in the plain surrounding Armageddon (Mount Megiddo; Revelation 16:13–21).
Now, in the midst of this huge battle taking place in Israel, something amazing happens. This is the seventh major prophetic event I want to discuss . . .
7. THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST
Right while the events of Armageddon are going on, Jesus said in Matthew 24 that . . .
“The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the Earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.”
Why will all the tribes of the Earth “mourn”? Why do teenagers at a noisy neighborhood party grieve when they see the police pull up? Because the rebellion and the lawlessness is over. Jesus is coming back to judge the Earth. And I think by the end of the Tribulation, people will know “God is angry with the wicked” (Psalm 7:11, KJV).
Revelation 19 tells us that Jesus is going to descend from Heaven to the Earth on a white horse. And the whole Earth will know.
“Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him.”
And guess who’s coming with Him? All of us who have been with the Lord in Heaven.
“And the armies in Heaven, clothed in fine linen white and clean [a reference to the redeemed (Rev. 19:7–8)], followed Him on white horses.”
Imagine how awesome it is going to be to follow Jesus to the Earth, down through the clouds on white horses, and to touch down there in Israel. For those of you who would like to go to Israel but can’t afford to go, take heart. There is a day coming! You will make it. And it won’t cost you a penny. When Jesus is the tour guide, it’s a free trip. And we won’t be the only ones following Jesus down to the Earth; all the angels of Heaven will be joining us as well. Why do I believe that? Jesus told us . . .
“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.”
Where in Israel is Jesus going to come back to? The prophet Zechariah tells us . . .
“And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east.”
Near the top of Jesus’ “To Do List”—if we can call it that—is putting an end to the deceptive rule of the Antichrist and his false prophet.
“Then the beast [a reference to the Antichrist] was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.”
8. THE THOUSAND-YEAR REIGN OF CHRIST
This is also commonly called the “Millennium” or the “Millennial Reign of Christ.” This is going to be a wonderful time! The Bible has more to say about the Messiah’s rule and kingdom here on the Earth than any other event in all of Bible prophecy. Here is a brief overview of what the Bible tells us about this time . . .
• The unrepentant wicked who reject the gospel during the Tribulation will have been cast out at the Judgment of Nations (Matt. 25:41)
• Satan will be locked up and unable to influence the world (Rev. 20:2–3)
• Jesus will be the King of the world (Isaiah 9:6) ruling and reigning from Jerusalem (Micah 4:1–2)
• There will be a worldwide knowledge of God (Isaiah 11:9)
• We will make yearly trips to Jerusalem to celebrate (Zechariah 14:16)
• Idolatry and false religions will be done away with (Zechariah 13:2–6)
• Jesus’ apostles will rule over the twelve tribes of Israel (Matt.19:28; Luke 22:29–30)
• All weapons of war will be destroyed (Isaiah 2:4)
• There will be a removal of sickness (Isaiah 33:24; Jeremiah 30:17)
• Healing of the blind, deaf, and lame (Isaiah 35:5–6)
• Fruitful, enjoyable labor (Isaiah 62:8–9, 65:21–23)
• One language (Zephaniah 3:9)
• The animal kingdom will enjoy perfect peace (Isaiah 11:6–9, 65:25; Ezekiel 34:25)
“ . . . the wolf will dwell with the lamb . . . the lion will eat straw like the ox . . . the nursing child will lay by the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den . . . ”
• There will be wonderful changes to the environment (Isaiah 35:1–2, 6–7, 55:13). Isaiah 35 says the desert will “blossom profusely” (v. 2) and “waters will break forth in the wilderness . . . And the scorched land will become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water” (Isa. 35:6–7).
So, imagine Garden of Eden-like conditions restored. It is going to be a wonderful 1,000 years on the Earth with Jesus as King. After God puts an end to a short-lived, Satan-led rebellion at the end of the thousand years (Rev. 20:7–10), there is a ninth major event I’ll highlight, and that is . . .
9. THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT
Throughout history, when people who have turned their backs on God’s forgiveness died, they have gone to a place called “Hades” (Luke 16:23) to await judgment. In Revelation 20, John tells us that after the 1,000-year reign of Christ, these people will be resurrected to stand before God at what John calls a “great white throne” (Rev. 20:11). This judgment will include the unsaved from the time of Adam (Gen. 1) up until that present time. The Bible says that “the dead” will “come to life” (Rev. 20:5) to stand before God to have their deeds exposed and to face God’s judgment (Rev. 20:12).
Revelation 20 tells us that books will be opened that contain a thorough record of all of the sinful deeds of each person (Rev. 20:12).
Can you imagine the horror these people will experience, knowing that every sinful thing they ever said (Matt. 12:36–37) and did, even those things done in secret (Rom. 2:16), were all carefully written down?
Hebrews 10:31 says that for them it will be “a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God” still in their sins.
And that will certainly be the case. After this judgment, the Bible makes it clear that these unrepentant, unforgiven sinners will be “thrown into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:15), where they will spend eternity separated from God.
Friend, you don’t want to end up there. That is why it is vitally important that you be reconciled to God now before it’s too late. And you can be reconciled to God! That’s why Jesus died on the cross for you. Jesus, God in human flesh, lovingly died on that cruel wooden Roman cross in your place, for your sins, so that you could be forgiven and reconciled to God. He rose from the grave three days later and today stands ready to forgive you and any who will put their trust in Him (John 3:16).
The Bible says “Whoever will call on the name of the LORD will be saved (Rom. 10:13).” If you will do that, God will forgive you of your sins, and not only will you be delivered from paying the penalty for your sins in Hell, you’ll go on to enjoy all that God has planned for those who love Him in, number ten . . .
10. ETERNITY IN NEW JERUSALEM
After Satan, the fallen angels, and unrepentant sinners have been judged and locked away forever, Revelation 21:1 and elsewhere (Isaiah 65:17; 2 Peter 3:13) tell us that God is going to create a new heaven and a new Earth.
Notice what John writes . . .
“And I saw a new heaven [speaking of the atmospheric heavens, rather than the dwelling place of God] and a new Earth; for the first heaven and the first Earth passed away . . .”
2 Peter 3:10
“ . . . the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.”
And for good reason. This present Earth has been contaminated by thousands of years of humanity’s sin. Well, in its place, God is going to create a brand-new heaven and Earth. In this new heaven and on this new Earth, God is going to place a wonderful new “holy city” for His people to live in called, “New Jerusalem” (Rev. 21:2).
New Jerusalem is bigger than any city the world has ever known. It measures twelve thousand furlongs in width (Rev. 21:16). That’s 1,380 miles. To help you ponder how big that is, consider this: the city of Los Angeles is only 29 miles wide. The USA is about 2,800 miles wide. So New Jerusalem is about half the width of our entire country. Massive!
Not only is this “city of the living God” (Heb. 12:22) gigantic, it’s absolutely glorious. The massive outer wall is jasper, similar to diamond in appearance. The city is made out of “pure gold” (Rev. 21:18), and it radiates with God’s glory to such an extent that there will no longer be any need for the sun (Rev. 22:5).
The redeemed from throughout history are going to live in that beautiful new city and have the ability to go in and out onto the new Earth. This is going to be amazing!
Some people today think that eternity is going to be boring and that we’re just going to sing all the time or float around on clouds playing harps. Some people hear those kinds of descriptions of Heaven and they think “I don’t want to go there!”
If you’ve thought that, you need to reexamine what the Bible actually teaches about Heaven. A good place to start would be the Book of Revelation chapters 21 and 22. Revelation 21 says New Jerusalem has four sides with three massive gates on each side (Rev. 21:12–13) that never close (Rev. 21:25), for a total of twelve gates.
Why do these massive gates in the city’s walls never close? Well, because there will never be a threat to the city. And so that the city’s inhabitants (you and me) can go in and out on to the new Earth.
In eternity, there are going to be things to do, people to see, places to explore on the new Earth. I can just imagine one of the angels coming on the intercom, “This is Michael, we’ve got a white-water river-rafting trip tomorrow morning. Meet at 9:00 AM, gate 3, on the north side.”
Life in New Jerusalem and on the New Earth is going to be incredible! If you think this present planet has a lot to offer, just imagine a brand-new Earth that has never been contaminated by sin or affected in any way by the curse or a global flood. It’s safe to say that we are going to experience things in eternity that we’ve never even dreamed of!
The Bible says God is going to dwell amongst His people there (Rev. 21:3) and . . .
“God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
The sin, death, sorrow and pain that have plagued mankind for thousands of years will finally be gone! So we’re not even going to need to wear helmets or life jackets when we go rafting. And not only will sorrow and pain be a thing of the past, they will be replaced with unending, overflowing joy . . .
“In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
Wow. Think of a time when you were totally full of joy. Maybe it was the last day of school. Perhaps it was after someone called you up with some good news. Man, it made you feel like dancing. Maybe it was after a sweet time of worship. Can you imagine living throughout all eternity with that kind of overflowing joy?—a joy that will never be interrupted with bad news or tainted by a sinful thought or activity.
In New Jerusalem, we will spend eternity with the Lord, the angels, and all of the redeemed from throughout human history.
Imagine how amazing it’s going to be to sit down and dine with people like Noah, Moses, David, Esther, Peter, Mary, Paul! And not just people we’ve read about in the Bible, but people like . . .
• Isaac Newton
• Abraham Lincoln
• C.S. Lewis
• William Tyndale
• Charles Spurgeon
• Corrie ten Boom
• Jim and Elisabeth Elliot
• Your loved ones who are there
Imagine the stories we’ll share . . . the laughter and the fellowship! Oh my goodness, my heart overflows with joy just anticipating this. But best of all? We will be with our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
What wonderful things God has in store for those who love Him. I hope you’ll be there with us. Come with us! Follow Jesus. Let’s spend eternity together. Amen?
If you need to get right with God, do it right now.
CHARLIE H. CAMPBELL
is an itinerant Christian apologist, the founder of ABR, and the author of several books and videos, some of which include:
• Archaeological Evidence for the Bible
• One-Minute Answers to Skeptics
• Dakota Knox & the Archaeology Thief + Dakota Knox: London, Love, & Terror + Dakota Knox: Nightmare at the Museum
• Scrolls & Stones: Compelling Evidence the Bible Can Be Trusted
• Evidence for God
• The Case for Christianity
• The Bible’s Scientific Accuracy and Foresight
• Answering Atheists
• The Case for the Resurrection
• If God is Loving, Why is there Evil and Suffering?
• Apologetics Quotes
• The End Times and Beyond: A Concise, Chronological Overview of End-Time Bible Prophecies
• Dad, Does God Exist? + Dad, Why Do We Believe the Bible?
WOULD YOU LIKE CHARLIE CAMPBELL TO SPEAK AT YOUR CHURCH?
Charlie Campbell speaks at churches and conferences throughout the year. If you're a pastor and would like him to speak at your church or event, please contact ABR here and let us know.