Now that we’ve discussed the basics of what’s going to happen when Messiah returns, let’s turn our attention to what we can expect after Christ’s return because people have a lot of false assumptions about that.
Most Christians believe that when Jesus comes back, we’re all going to live “happily ever after” in heaven but that is not exactly the case. We may find that we will have some adjusting to do. Let’s begin by exploring some of these things.
First of all, we aren’t going to live in heaven when Jesus returns. I can already hear you crying, “heresy!” Sorry to burst your bubble, but that’s not what the Bible really teaches. People who’ve died may be with Jesus now because “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” but many people will be dwelling all over the earth during His millennial reign (2 Cor. 5:8).
Right now the average life span of people living all over the world is very short compared to those who lived prior to Noah but during the millennium, people will live long lives. People will die, marriage will still take place, and children will be born (Ezekiel 44:22 and 25; Isaiah 65:20). It’s probably safe to say that those who will die during the millennium will be like those who perished during the wilderness wanderings. Hebrews 9:27 makes it clear that man only dies once so those who die during the millennium will be people who were alive when Jesus returned but eventually rebelled and died according to the Torah. The second death is the lake of fire. There will be many like Elijah who never died. Once there is a new heaven and earth, there will be no marriage and we will be like the angels in heaven (Matt. 22:30).
In Biblical times, plants, herbs, and essential oils/resins were known for their healing properties. Currently pharmaceutical companies produce tons of medicines that generate tons of money for the companies that produce them. Today many people are beginning to learn more about natural remedies. According to Ezekiel 47:1-11, there will be healing waters and trees with different kinds of fruit each month and leaves with healing properties during the millennium. Revelation 22:1-2 tells us that in the New Jerusalem a pure river of living water will proceed from the throne of God and of the Lamb. The tree of life which will be between the river and the main street will bear twelve fruits, a different fruit each month. The leaves of this tree will be for the healing of the nations.
During Christ’s reign, we will obey and live according to the Torah. Originally, Moses taught Torah to God’s people but it wasn’t and still isn’t always obeyed. Even when it was, it wasn’t always with the correct attitude. Unfortunately, many Christians today have the idea that Torah has been abolished despite what Jesus said in Matthew 5:17-19 and despite what Paul said in Romans 3:31. When Jesus reigns, He will rule the nations of the earth with a rod of iron and the Torah will be the law of the world (Ps. 2:9; Rev. 2:27, 12:5, 19:15). Why do you think He will have to do that? Does that sound like someone ruling in blissful love, tough love, or harsh judgment?
Many will be shocked to find out that men will have to be physically circumcised. Circumcision of both the heart and flesh has been required by God since the time of Abraham but physical circumcision was neglected during the time of the wilderness wanderings. It was eventually performed on the second generation of the Exodus once the people were ready to enter the Promised Land (Joshua 5:1-7). This is the pattern for the future. Most Christians understand that physical circumcision is not necessary in order to be saved but they fail to understand it is still an everlasting requirement for both Jews and Gentiles who are of the household of God (Genesis 17:9-14). Many Gentiles have not been circumcised because they have misunderstood the cultural and historical issues of Paul’s time and therefore misinterpreted Paul’s writings on the subject. Ezekiel 44:9 explains that circumcision of the heart and the flesh will be required in order to enter the temple therefore many males will need to undergo circumcision when the millennium begins if they do not do so before then. Doing so has always been God’s symbol or outward sign of what should have already taken place in the heart.
Another thing we should expect is that the temple will need to be cleansed and rededicated just like the temple built under Ezra’s leadership. This temple had to be cleansed and rededicated because of the abomination that Antiochus Epiphanes IV had brought into the temple. That temple was destroyed in 70 C.E. Some day the temple that Ezekiel described will be built. This temple will also have an abomination of desolation brought into it which will require it to be cleansed and rededicated.
Ezekiel 44:23 says that the Levitical priests, the sons of Zadok will teach people the concepts of clean versus unclean and holy versus common during the millennium. This is because most are unfamiliar with these concepts. We need to study and teach Torah now to those who will listen. We can practice the dietary laws today not only for health reasons but because they’ve not been abolished despite what many people teach. Peter eventually understood the meaning of the vision he received and we need to accept that interpretation. We need to obey Torah’s other commands too since they also have hidden spiritual significance. By the time there is a new heaven and earth, we’ll know what is expected of us, what it all means, and there will be no further need to teach Torah because it will come naturally.
Since we will be learning to obey Torah during Jesus’ millennial reign, sins will still be committed inadvertently. That is why Ezekiel 45 and 46 tell us offerings will be performed. Are you shocked or angry to hear this? Many Christians respond that way because they’ve been told that Jesus fulfilled the types of the sacrifices. Well, I’m sorry but the Bible teaches that the sacrifices will still be performed during the millennium! Some suspect the reason will be to look back on the atoning work of Christ on the cross whereas prior to Christ, the offerings were unknowingly looking ahead to Jesus death and resurrection. I agree with this concept but we should also understand that the sacrifices are also a shadow of the time when the wicked will be thrown into the lake of fire and the offerings will be brought as a visual reminder to us of this sober fact. A final reason for the sacrifices to take place in the millennium is because it fits the pattern:
- Moses; sacrifices performed in the outer court of the Tabernacle and Solomon’s Temple; sacrifices ceased during Babylonian exile.
- Ezra; sacrifices performed at the second temple; sacrifices ceased under Antiochus Epiphanes IV.
- Jesus’ first coming; sacrifices were still performed at the second temple after Jesus death and resurrection; sacrifices ceased when the temple was destroyed in 70 C.E.
- Jesus’ second coming; sacrifices will be performed at the millennial temple; sacrifices will cease and not be performed on the new heaven and earth because there will be no temple in the New Jerusalem. Instead, God and the Lamb are the Temple on the new heaven and earth (Rev. 21:22).
Ezekiel 45 and 46 also show us that the Feasts of the Lord, Sabbaths, and New Moons will be observed during Christ’s reign in Jerusalem. These can and should be celebrated now because a careful reading of Acts shows they’ve not been abolished. Even Colossians 2:17 encourages us not to let people give us a hard time about celebrating them because they are a shadow of things that are coming. They are God’s plan of:
- Redemption and salvation.
- Dwelling with His people.
- The coming of the new heaven and earth.
We must understand that only the wicked who will die when Christ returns will be those living in Jerusalem on the Feast of Trumpets and those who will not escape the Battle of Armageddon on the Day of Atonement. The rest of the nations will still have people living in them because not everyone will go to the Battle of Armageddon and not everyone will die in the massive earthquake. This is why God’s people will need to be judges (Ezekiel 44:24, Rev. 20:6) and why there will be a countless number of people at the end of the millennium who will be deceived by Satan when he is released from the abyss and will join him for the Battle of Gog (Revelation 20:7-9). Once those people die their first death, the second resurrection (the resurrection of the wicked) will take place followed by the Great White Throne Judgment. After that, the wicked finally be cast into the lake of fire.
In Revelation 21:1-4, John sums things up nicely: “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 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.” (NKJV)
Aren’t you really thrilled with the final outcome of God’s plans for His people?
Does reading some of this information make you angry, shocked, or confused?
It should because we’ve been fed a lie for centuries by pastors and teachers who’ve accepted and passed on incorrect teachings to their congregations and students.
This is not completely their fault. The way the information is scattered throughout the Bible doesn’t help but perhaps that was to keep people from fully understanding God’s plan. Using a Bible software program can speed the process of intensively studying the Bible and help to sort things out. It’s also useful to find and study the patterns found in Scripture.
Did you notice how many patterns we’ve look at today?
Go back and note how much history repeats itself. This should move you to read and study the Bible yourself to find out what else you’ve been taught isn’t completely correct.
Should we stand up and start correcting these false teachings?
If you do, be warned that you will be met with resistance. Not many want to hear the truth. After all, consider what happened to Martin Luther and the rest of the Reformers.
No matter what your response to what you’ve learned today, may your name be written in the Book of Life and may you be blessed as you seek Truth.