19.         The Final Judgement and the New Creation

(Revelation 20-22)


The reason why the devil will not be cast into the lake of fire together with the Antichrist and the false prophet is that he will be used as a catalyst to make manifest the latent evil in unsaved people at the end of the millennium. They will then reveal their true character, which will clearly distinguish them from the saved people.

The shocking fact is that even in the dispensation of the kingdom, when Christ will publicly and visibly rule from the throne of David in a government of righteousness, millions of people will proceed with their lifeless form of godliness without complying with Christ's command to be born again. In the history of mankind those who, spiritually, chose the narrow way were always a minority group, referred to as a remnant. The same phenomenon will repeat itself in the millennium. When the deceiver of the nations is released from his thousand year bondage in the bottomless pit the latent evil in people will immediately be activated into sinful deeds of rebellion against God. The carnal nature of unsaved people will be drawn to the devil like pins to a magnet and sinful deeds will proliferate in a short space of time. Of this time, John writes:

“Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Rev. 20:7-10).

After the millennium, ending with Satan’s final rebellion against God, a great white throne will appear in heaven. The second resurrection will then take place, when all people who lived and died without Christ will be resurrected to stand before God at that awesome throne of final judgement, where they will be condemned to eternal death. The narrow way and the broad way (Mt. 7:13-14) will then each reach its ultimate destination – the one in the new Jerusalem with its pearly gates and golden streets, and the other one in hell:

“And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:15).

Please note that the lake of fire is a literal place of torment and that it will exist forever. The Lord Jesus often referred to the eternal abode of the wicked (See Mt. 10:28; 13:40-42; 25:41, 46).

The new heaven and new earth

The book of Revelation concludes with a description of God’s new creation. During the final judgement the earth will be burned up, the heavens will pass away and the elements melt with fervent heat (2 Pet. 3:19). A new heaven and a new earth will be created. The new Jerusalem, that wonderful city which Jesus prepared for those who love Him, will descend from heaven from God, having the glory of God, and rest upon the new earth.

The city and its streets are built of pure and transparent gold. The foundation stones of the wall are decorated with precious jewels that vary from crystal clear stones to deep red sardius, green chrysolite and sparkling blue sapphire. In the high walls that surround the city are twelve gates made of pearls – each gate is a single pearl. The idea of a tear is conveyed by a pearl, since its formation is associated with pain and suffering. When the oyster is injured, a shiny pearl is formed in the wound. When the feet and hands of Jesus Christ were pierced by the rough nails and He gave His life on the cross, the gates of paradise were again opened to fallen humanity. On the merit of His tears and suffering He became a precious pearl to us, which in itself is a gateway to the new Jerusalem. Through Him we can enter into the kingdom of heaven and delight ourselves in the glory of the Lord.

Preparation

After the reader has been given a glimpse of the new heaven and the new earth in Revelation 22, his attention is drawn back to the present. Equipped with new insight into the glorious destination of all Christians, as well as the terrible eternal abode of the wicked, the reader is challenged with the need for a genuine commitment of faith in Jesus on his part. It is also expected of us to be blameless in holiness at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thes. 3:13). We are clearly called to a life of dedication, godliness and separation from the present evil world:

“And he said to me: Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand. He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still. And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me to give to every one according to his work” (Rev. 22:10-12).

The Lord again reminds us that we are not to follow the pattern of Babylonian thinking of unity at all costs. This ideology teaches people to go along with anything that comes their way, and to accommodate all religions and their non-Christian traditions. In our dispensation, which is characterised by the presence of two opposing spiritual forces, the ideal of global unity is not feasible. We should rather, because of our faith in the Lord Jesus, be prepared for greater polarisation against an evil world. Such an attitude calls for spiritual as well as moral non-conformity to the mainstream of the permissive and corrupt life-styles that are the order of the day.

You cannot compromise and revert to the sinful practises and ideologies of this world that is in the power of the Evil One. Follow the straight and narrow road all the way. Do not deviate from God's principles and do not become overwhelmed when the world, as well as the compromising, worldly churches, turn their backs on you. Jesus warned His disciples against persecution and rejection by the world (Jn. 15:18-19; 16:33).

Nominal Christians who compromise with the world, will obviously not be reproached and persecuted. But in the end they will pay dearly for this temporary advantage when the Lord will refuse to accept their self-styled form of Christianity (Mt. 7:21-23). Friendship with the world is emphatically branded as enmity against God (Jas. 4:4; 1 Jn. 2:15-17). Therefore, no bridges should be built between the two ideologies and life-styles.

You are invited at this very moment, even should the tribulation already have begun, to turn from the pathway of darkness and iniquity to the Saviour, Jesus Christ. To everyone who truly wants to be saved, the Lord says:

“And let him who thirsts come. And whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev. 22:17).

Do not delay your decision, but go down on your knees and confess your sins to Jesus Christ. He promises that those who come to Him, He will in no way cast out (Jn. 6:37). He waits for you now:

“Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Is. 1:18).

The Lord pardons abundantly. (Is. 55:7) Even if you have backslidden time and again, you can still have the confidence to return to the Lord. Do not allow the devil to prevent your salvation or spiritual restoration with the idea that your sins are too many, too awful or even be unpardonable. These are some of his many lies! Confess everything to the Lord and accept 1 John 1:9 as the promise of complete forgiveness and salvation: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 Jn. 1:9).

Testify to others about your faith and take a public stand for Christ (Rom. 10:9-10), even though it may bring persecution. Do not be ashamed to acknowledge your Redeemer, and do not keep quiet about the great things He has done for you. Read the first epistle of Peter, and rejoice even in the suffering you have to undergo because of your faith. The hardships in this hostile world do not weigh up against the eternal glory that is shortly to be revealed to us (2 Cor. 4:16 – 5:1). Time is so short that not a moment should be wasted if you are to get into a right relationship with the Lord. What you do now, or neglect to do, will be decisive for your eternal destiny.

At the conclusion of Revelation the assurance is given that, if we have been reconciled with God through the blood of the Lamb, the Holy Spirit will bring a deep longing for the return of Jesus in our hearts. The Spirit and the bride call on the heavenly Bridegroom: Come, Lord Jesus! His response to this is: Surely I come quickly! (Rev. 22:17, 20). Are you prepared for His coming?

The Bright Morning Star

In Revelation 22:16 the Lord says: “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”

Jesus is the Root and Offspring of David. As the Root of David His Deity is asserted – He is David's Lord! As the Offspring of David His Manhood is involved (Lk. 20:41-44). He is the promised Messiah who was born from the house of David in the tribe of Judah – the seed of Abraham through whom all the nations would be blessed.

In Deuteronomy 18:15 Moses also referred to this great Prophet who would be raised up in Israel. Through the centuries Satan hated and persecuted Israel because of the promises made to them about the coming Messiah. Religious leaders with insight understood the true reasons for the spiritual and physical attacks against Israel and committed themselves to the struggle against the forces of darkness. They realised the worthiness of bearing the reproach of Messiah and of suffering for a cause which has long-term spiritual benefits for humanity. For unselfish service of this nature God will reward them in eternity. Moses chose “rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ [the Messiah] greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he looked to the reward” (Heb. 11:25-26).

As the Bright Morning Star Jesus Himself is the promise of a new day that will dawn over this troubled world. The morning star is visible only during the latter part of the night – just before and heralding the dawn. The darkest hour is often just before dawn. It is still night now and the world is sinking ever deeper into moral and spiritual darkness. The true believers will meet Jesus as the Morning Star during the rapture in the fourth night watch of this dark dispensation. The darkest part of the night will then ensue on earth under the evil reign of the Antichrist. With His Second Coming Jesus will, as prophesied, "arise" as "The Sun of Righteousness… with healing in His wings" (Mal. 4:2), dispelling all darkness and usher in His millennial reign as Prince of Peace, King of kings and Lord of lords!