A Million Years from NowSearch the Word | Vol. 26 No. 1 | Nov-Dec 2015
Take a journey with me in time to the New Earth: fields of waving grain; red, yellow, and blue flowers dotting green hillsides; crystal clear rivers; deep blue sky; fruits of every size and shape; animals and birds living in perfect harmony with one another. In short, everything to delight the eye and satisfy the taste of holy people filled with love for one another and for God.
In this beautiful place there will be no sickness, no sorrow, no death. There is no deforestation or pollution, for the earth and its creatures are cared for as a sacred trust. You can build your own house and gardens and inhabit them for eternity. It’s a place where every talent can be developed and every capacity expanded. A place where you can travel from world to world and from star to star.
Here the redeemed will live with Jesus and the heavenly hosts. The only reminder of the old sinful earth will be the nail prints in His hands—the price Jesus paid to give eternal life to all who will accept it.
In the face of life’s problems and sorrows, we are often tempted to view these scenes as fantasy. But the Bible teaches that the New Earth will be a real place. God promises, “Behold, I make all things new.” Revelation 21:5. The inheritance lost by Adam and Eve at the Fall will be restored. Yet this promise will not be fulfilled until sin is completely removed from the universe. The Bible describes a timeline of these events.
I. ETERNITY BEGINS FOR THE SAINTS
1. At Christ’s second coming, what will happen to the righteous, both those in the grave and those alive on the earth? 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17.
2. What promise does He fulfill to His faithful followers at His return? John 14:1–3.
3. Where will the wicked be during this time? Isaiah 24:1, 3, 5, 6; Revelation 20:1–5.
Jesus taught that there will be two resurrections. John 5:28, 29. The first resurrection happens when Jesus returns to take His people to heaven. The second resurrection happens after the 1,000 years that Jesus spends with His saints. See also Revelation 20:1–6.
II. THE SAINTS’ HEAVENLY HOME
1. Where will the saints live in Heaven? Hebrews 11:16 and 12:22; Revelation 3:12.
2. How long will the saints live in Heaven? Revelation 20:4.
This 1,000 year period is often called “the millennium” and is derived from mille, the Latin word for the number one thousand.
3. What will the saints do during this 1,000 year period? Revelation 20:4; 1 Corinthians 6:2, 3.
IV. LIFE ON THE NEW EARTH
1. What will replace this sinful earth after it has been destroyed? Revelation 21:1.
2. Who will be allowed to live in this new place? Revelation 21:7; Revelation 22:14.
3. Where will God make His new home? Revelation 21:3.
4. Why is there no more crying, sorrow, or pain in the New Earth? Revelation 21:4.
5. How will nature be different in the New Earth? Isaiah 11:6–9.
When the Earth is made new, everyone in the universe, including the animals, will be in harmony and at rest.
5. How will we spend our time on the New Earth? Isaiah 65:21, 22.
6. What special holy day from the Garden of Eden will God’s people still observe? Isaiah 66:22, 23.
7. Why will there be no more night in the New Jerusalem? Revelation 21:23.
III. EVIL’S FINAL END
1. Where is Satan during the millennium? Revelation 20:1–3.
2. Where are the wicked during the millennium? Revelation 20:5a.
3. What will Satan be allowed to do after the millennium? Revelation 20:7–9.
Satan and his angels will have no one to tempt for one thousand years. But at the second resurrection he takes charge of the wicked, and with an army of desperate rebels he tries to take the New Jerusalem by force.
4. Before Satan and his followers are destroyed, what does God do to show His justice? Revelation 20:12.
Contrary to what many people believe, the wicked will not receive their final punishment at the second coming of Christ. After the millennium, when the Holy City comes down from Heaven, Satan, his angels, and his followers from all ages will stand before God to receive their just reward. Revelation 20:12. Then it will be seen that God is fair and merciful in destroying those who have chosen Satan as their lord. They do not love God, therefore they would be miserable in an atmosphere of purity and continual praise to Him.
5. How will God destroy the wicked? Malachi 4:1, 3.
6. How complete will the destruction of sin and its effects be? Nahum 1:5–9; Isaiah 24:19, 20.
Careful study of the Bible reveals that there will be no eternally burning hell to mar the happiness of the redeemed. It is a fire that consumes, that won’t be extinguished until there is nothing left to burn.
Jesus will return for His faithful people, just as He promised His first followers nearly 2,000 years ago. They will reign with Him for one thousand years and participate in the judgment of the universe—reviewing the cases of angels, men, women, and children. After the millennium, Jesus brings the New Jerusalem and all its inhabitants down to Earth to witness the final end of sin. Sinners will be resurrected to face their judgement. Before sin and sinners are destroyed, it will be recognized that God is just and merciful.
Only after sin has been totally removed from the universe will Jesus recreate this sin-blighted earth as the new home for His people. In this new earth, the people of God will not be idle. They will build their own homes, plant gardens, and eat from the bounty of the land. God will once again allow man to care for His creation, as Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden. Throughout eternity we will join the angels in worship to God on His holy Sabbath, the day which honors God as Creator and Lord.
By God’s grace I want to be restored to my original inheritance. I want God to take control of my heart so that I may serve Him willingly. Then I will earnestly pray to remain faithful so that I may one day live with Him on the New Earth. I recognize that neither sin nor defilement will enter into that kingdom. Therefore, I commit my life to God and ask Him to cleanse me through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. I trust His promise that through God’s grace and strength I can be prepared to live in a perfect world.
In the Ten Commandments and other Bible passages, why does God portray Himself as a “jealous God”? How can a holy God also be jealous?
I. In the Beginning
II. The Change
III. God’s Solution
V. Will You Come
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