Life on earth is at best a bitter-sweet experience and at worst an endless cycle of woes. One historian simply reduces world history to a record of man's numerous wars: “In many instances, the history of a people is the history of its wars.” ( Dictionary of Wars by Childs Khon 1999 p viii).
Peace is scarce in many parts of the world; poverty, hunger, disease, define life in stark terms for many.Why is the world virtually ‘hell' for millions of people? Is this the kind of world God created for mankind?
The answer we get from the scriptures is a big no! An evil force has tempered with our world. According to the scriptures, the whole world lies under the sway of Satan, the arch-deceiver who brought man's paradise crumbling in a day, the prince of the power of the air who is the primary influence behind all the evil in the world today.(1 John 5:19; Rev 2:9; Eph 2:2-3).
Terrible fact, but the good news is that the end of this misery-filled world is near. In fact, the gospel of Christ, while proclaiming salvation and liberty to men, is also actively tolling the death-knell of the Adamic world. And when it does fall, Satan shall not escape.
He would be repugnant spectacle in the sight of all men:
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning? How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations."
“They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdom;
“That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of His prisoners?” (Isaiah 14:12, 16-21).
In prophetic chronology, the time allotted to the Adamic world is 6000 years after which a millennium of bliss shall be ushered in; it shall be an age of unprecedented peace and prosperity on earth.
Herein lies the prophetic significance of the 7-day weekly cycle. The first six working days correspond to the 6000 years allotted to the Adamic world, and then the seventh day (Sabbath) to the 1000 years of peace on earth.
The Apostolic Church well understood this mystery:
“Beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as thousand years and a thousand years as one day.” (2Pet. 3:8; also Ps. 90:4).
Isaiah 65:17-25 gives us a preview of the millennium: A picture of idyllic peace and unprecedented prosperity. What is more, Sabbath observance will be instituted throughout the earth for the millennium itself will be an Epic Sabbath . (Isaiah 66:22-23).
But a raging storm shall precede the calm. The beast system of 666 will have come, persecuted the saints, and gone. Armageddon will also have broken out in all its fury: The forces of evil readied for war against the returning Christ (Rev. 16:13-14, 16-21).
However, none of the saints of Christ, both the living and the dead, shall be caught up in the crossfire of Armageddon nor in its destructions. They shall be caught away to a place of safety–Heaven–“until the indignation [of the Lord] be overpast”.
This event is captured in Isaiah 26:20-21:
“Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast."
“For, behold, the Lord cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity. The earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.”
This pictures God's immediate judgement against the world as Yeshua returns to earth with His angels for the final showdown (Matt. 24:29-31). Yes, Armageddon will be horrendous, yet its aftermath will be peace. Satan, the hindrance to peace, shall be incarcerated in the abyss or bottomless pit for the entire duration of the millennium. At the same time, the wicked shall not be resurrected from the dead until the thousand years are finished.
After the thousand years, Satan shall be released, but he will not have been sobered up by his long period of imprisonment in the abyss. He will initiate another rebellion against God Almighty, but this time , he shall not get off lightly.
No, not another long prison term, but eternal punishment in the Lake of fire along with the beast, the false prophet and all their deceived followers. (Rev. 20:10;12-15).
Finally, the curtain draws on man's world. The 1000 years completed, the saints will be taken to the eternal Heaven to be with the Lord forever. (John 14:2-3; Rev. 19:1).
Note the fine distinction between the millennium and the Heavenly Kingdom of God in situ:
The former is time-bound, that is lasts for a 1000 years (no place found for them, “the earth and the Heaven fled away”- Rev. 20:11). Besides, time as measured by the revolution of the sun on its axis will still be the norm. (Isa. 66:23).
In the Heavenly Jerusalem, however, there will be no moon nor the sun to give the city light, “for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof” (Rev. 21:23; 22:5). Secondly, the Heavenly city-state will stay forever as it has always been.
Thanks be to God, the believer's future is one of hope and salvation. Divine judgement against sinners is certain as is His mercy towards true believers.
Whatever choices we make today will determine our eternal destiny. Heaven is real (John 14:2; Rev. 19:1; Eph. 3:15); hell is real (Isa. 33:14; Rev. 14:9-11, 21:8). Let us, therefore, “have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear” and receive a Kingdom which cannot be moved. (Heb.12:28).
In conclusion, the end of man's greatest enemy, Satan, is both prophesied and guaranteed as is the glorious transformation of the saints in light. (Philippians 3:20-21).
The word has gone forth:
“Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth.” (Rev. 16:15, 22:12).