There would be a period of time in which Satan would be chained by the word of God and limited in his influence over Christians. The church, given new life in a spiritual resurrection would be able to live in relative peace from his power. Christ would continue to reign in heaven. This calm would eventually end with Satan continuing his war against God’s people for a short period of time. Those who remained faithful would be spared the second death.
When Satan resumes his war, many will be deceived. Wrong will seem to be right and right will seem to be wrong. This battle will be intense, but short. He and his army will be cast into eternal torment.
The judgment scene was pictured as an awesome event. ALL who have ever lived will stand before the judgment throne. A series of books will be opened with the Book of Life being opened last. Each person will be judged according to HIS works—not another’s. “And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” This is the second death and eternal punishment of all evil.
There are many who teach that Christ will reign on earth with the saved for one thousand years. Nothing here or elsewhere indicates His return to earth—only that the dead will be raised first and the living will meet together with them in the clouds to meet Him in the air. John’s vision related that only those who were beheaded would reign with Him a thousand years (on earth NOT mentioned). Where are those who died natural deaths? The thousand years represented an indefinite period of time and this highly figurative language referred only to the ultimate victory of those who had been persecuted for Christ.
At the end of time, the heavens and earth will be destroyed—melted with a fervent heat. With all of these things, along with evil having been destroyed, John’s vision continued with a view of what heaven is like. The splendor of heaven can only be described in terms familiar to man. Its features were described as being vast and like various precious stones and jewels lit by the presence of God. One can only use his imagination to see its glory beyond this picture.
God’s children whose names are found written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will enjoy perfect bliss and happiness. There will be no tears of pain or sorrow and no fear of evil. Man measures events by time, but heaven is eternal with NO END!!
The conclusion of John’s vision described heaven as a paradise similar to the garden of Eden at the beginning of time. Eden was a place of enormous beauty. The trees there were, “pleasant to the sight and good for food.” A very special tree, “the tree of life was also in the midst of the garden.” Eden was watered by a river that flowed from it and was lit during the day by the sun. There was no place for sin. Their disobedience caused Adam and Eve to be driven from the garden and the tree of life.
Heaven is also a place of enormous beauty. A clear as crystal river of life flows from the throne of God and Christ. The tree of life bearing its unending fruit is in its midst. There will be no curse of sin in heaven. Since God is its light, there will be neither darkness nor night to dim one’s view.
John was so awestruck that he fell down at the feet of the angel to worship him. He was quickly reminded by the angel that only God is to be worshipped because they were fellow servants.
The angel continued speaking and pointed out that there are no opportunities to change one’s destiny at the judgment. Those who were evil will be judged accordingly and the righteous will not lose their reward.
Christ stated that He is “coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.” All have been invited to, “take of the water of life freely.” Those who do His commandments will have the right to the tree of life and entrance into the gates of heaven. Evildoers will be locked out and cast into the lake of fire forever.
It is a grievous sin to change God’s word. He warned the Israelites in the wilderness to neither add to nor take away from the word which He commanded them. The apostle Paul admonished the Galatian church to not heed any other gospel than the gospel that he had already preached to them. John closed his account of the revelation with the same warning regarding the message that he had recorded in that book.
The end of the prophecy contained a prayer that, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.”
This ends our study of the New Testament. I hope that we have profited from this study. We shall return to the beginning of the Bible on Jan. 1 as we continue our time of study and service to God.