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WHY IS GOD GOING TO RELEASE SATAN AFTER THE 1000 YEARS?

Revelation 20:7-10, “When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”

As we read these verses, we wonder, “Why will God release Satan at the end of the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ?” First, we must admit that there are some biblical questions which we cannot answer this side of glory because God has chosen to reserve some mysteries to Himself (Deuteronomy 29:29, Romans 11:33-36). Yet, as believers, even if we cannot always understand something about God’s Word, His will, or His ways, we can be sure that He remains ever faithful, true, and trustworthy, and in light of that our job remains to obey what we do understand as quickly, fully, and well as we are able. Even if we might not be able to answer why God releases Satan, we can suggest some possible reasons and motivations, based on an understanding of the entirety of the Word of God.

At the beginning of the Millennium, only believers will be alive (Revelation 19:17-21), some who live through the Tribulation Period, and some who come back with the Lord at His second coming. It will be a time of peace unparalleled in history (Isaiah 2:4; Joel 3:10; Micah 4:3). Jesus will be ruling on the throne of David, imposing a benevolent theocracy on all of His creation. Jesus will ensure that everyone has every need fulfilled, while not tolerating the sin so prevalent in today’s society (Psalm 2:7-12; Revelation 2:26-29; 12:5; 19:11-16). We can only imagine such a time of “heaven on earth.”

The believers who live through the Tribulation will be mortal. They will live and repopulate the earth during the Millennial Kingdom. Without the devastation of sin taking its toll, we can imagine the population increase during the Millennium will be enormous, almost incomprehensible. All those who are born during the Millennium will enjoy the benefits and blessings of Christ’s reign on the earth, but they will still be born with a sin nature, and they will still have to freely repent and believe the Gospel, personally choosing Christ as Savior and Lord.

Yet, at the end of the Millennial Reign, Satan is loosed and is able to deceive a vast multitude to follow him in one final rebellion against the Lord of glory and His saints! It seems that the further humanity gets from the end of the Tribulation and the start of the Millennium, the more they will “take for granted” how good they have it, and some may even harbor doubts about the goodness of God. Even though the number who rebel with Satan are said to be “as the sand of the sea” (Revelation 20:7), they may still be a minority compared to the number who do not rebel. It will still be a large number of souls who join Satan. Undoubtedly, one of the primary reasons God gives us this picture of what will happen in time is to demonstrate the deep-seated sin nature inherent in all of humanity (Jeremiah 17:9).

Additionally, God is trying to tell us something about His nature as displayed during the Millennium. His grace and goodness will be on display continually. But at the end of the 1,000 years, He will have zero tolerance for rebellion. When it happens, He will show no mercy and offer no “second chances.” At that time He will be quick to judge, and the final rebellion of Satan and sinful man will be over in a flash of fire. After this, the final judgment of the dead takes place (the Great White Throne Judgment, Revelation 20:11-15). Eternity can thus begin with every aspect of sin gone for all time.

Finally, God is trying to reinforce some very important lessons concerning Satan himself, especially for believers. First, that he has been and always will be the enemy of humanity. As God has fixed His love on us, Satan has for us a special hatred. Ever since Satan’s fall (Isaiah 14, Ezekiel 28), he has been the adversary of believers, and he is aptly described as the ultimate deceiver of mankind (John 8:44; 1 John 2:22). All he can give or promise man is death and destruction (John 10:10a). Satan is also shown here to be a truly defeated foe, and his ultimate doom is certain, along with the doom of all who follow him. God is trying to remind us that Satan is a created being who is powerless before Him (2 Corinthians 12:7). All this should encourage believers today to take God at His Word concerning our position in Christ with respect to the devil (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13; 1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 4:1-7; James 4:6-8; 1 John 2:15-29; 1 John 4:1-3), especially as we remember this grand truth: “…greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

Prophet Nathan Emol

WHO WILL OCCUPY THE MILLENNIAL KINGDOM?

There will be two distinct groups occupying the Earth during the millennial kingdom—those with glorified bodies, and those with earthly bodies who lived through the tribulation and on into the millennial kingdom. Those with glorified bodies consist of the Church, receiving glorified bodies at the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:21-23, 51-53), and those who are resurrected after Christ returns to Earth (Revelation 20:4-6). Those who have earthly bodies can be subdivided into two groups: believing Gentiles and believing Jews (Israel).

In Revelation 19:11-16, we find the return of Jesus Christ to Earth, known as His second coming. The rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53) is an appearing of Christ in the air, not His second coming. I mention this to make a distinction between the rapture and the second coming of Christ. There is no mention in Revelation 19-20 of any kind of rapture event. The implication is that saints who are on Earth when Christ returns will remain on Earth to enter the millennial kingdom in their natural bodies. If the rapture or any kind of event where a living believer receives a glorified body were included in the second coming of Christ to Earth, one would expect to find reference to such a major event in Revelation 19. But no such reference is to be found. The only event that results in believers receiving glorified bodies is found in Revelation 20:4-6 where those who became believers during the Tribulation and were killed because of their faith are resurrected. It is also believed that at this same time Old Testament saints will be resurrected, also receiving glorified bodies (see Daniel 12:2).

Matthew 25:31-46 is another passage that should be considered. This passage is commonly called the separation or judgment of the sheep and the goats. The sheep and goats refer to righteous and unrighteous Gentiles. Christ will judge the unrighteous Gentiles (goats), and they will be cast into the lake of fire for eternal punishment (Matthew 25:46). Therefore, no unbelieving Gentile will survive to live on into the millennial kingdom. The righteous Gentiles, or sheep, will live on into the millennial kingdom. They will give birth to children and will populate the Earth. However, these are not the only ones who will be producing children during the millennial kingdom.

The impression is given that when Christ returns, all Israel will trust in Him (Zechariah 12:10). They, too, will not receive glorified bodies (as did those who were raptured prior to the tribulation and those resurrected afterward). They also will produce children during the millennial kingdom.

So, believing Gentiles, Israel, and resurrected/raptured believers (all of whom have glorified bodies) will occupy the Earth. It should be noted, however, that believers with glorified bodies will not be reproducing. There is no marriage after this life (Matthew 22:30).

Children born during the millennial kingdom will have the responsibility of faith in Christ as all people of past ages have (faith in Christ since His coming; faith in God before—Genesis 15:2-6; Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 3:20). Unfortunately, not all of the children that are born during the millennial kingdom will come to faith in Christ. Those that do not will be led away by Satan into rebellion against God at the end of the millennial kingdom when Satan is let loose for a short time (Revelation 20:7-10).

For a further look at this subject (who will live into the millennial kingdom), look also at the following passages: Isaiah 2:2-4; Zechariah 14:8-21; Ezekiel 34:17-24; Daniel 7:13-14; Micah 4:1-5.

Prophet Nathan Emol

PURPOSE OF 1000 YEARS REIGN OF CHRIST:

The Millennium (also known as the Millennial Kingdom) is the 1,000-year reign of Jesus after the Tribulation and before all the people of the world are sent to either heaven or hell. Jesus will reign as king over Israel as well as all the nations of the world (Isaiah 2:4; 42:1). The world will live in peace (Isaiah 11:6–9; 32:18), Satan will be bound (Revelation 20:1–3), and, at the beginning, everyone will worship God (Isaiah 2:2–3). The purpose of the 1,000-year reign is to fulfill promises God made to the world that cannot be fulfilled while Satan is free and humans have political authority. Some of these promises, called covenants, were given specifically to Israel. Others were given to Jesus, the nations of the world, and creation. All of these will be fulfilled during Jesus’ 1,000-year reign.

The Palestinian Covenant, also called the Land Covenant (Deuteronomy 30:1-10)
God has already fulfilled the personal aspects of the Abrahamic Covenant; Abraham did go to the Promised Land, he did have many descendants, and he is the forefather of many nations. Several hundred years after Abraham, Joshua led the Israelites to claim ownership of the Promised Land. But Israel has never possessed the specific boundaries that God promised in Genesis 15:18–20 and Numbers 34:1-12. Not even Solomon ruled over this particular area (1 Kings 4:21–24). Although he did reign from the River of Egypt to the Euphrates, he did not hold the area from Mount Hor to Hazarenan (Numbers 34:7–9)—into present-day Lebanon and Syria. In addition, the covenant God made with Abraham was that he and his descendants would have the land forever (Genesis 13:15; 17:8; Ezekiel 16:60). The current Israeli state may be a step in this direction, but they still do not possess the boundaries God laid out.

The Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7)
God’s covenant with David was that his line would never die out and that David’s heir would sit on the throne of Israel forever (2 Samuel 7:16). Biblical scholars agree that Jesus is the fulfillment of this covenant—one of the reasons His genealogy is given for both His adoptive father (Matthew 1:1–17) and His mother (Luke 3:23–38). The Jews understood this when they laid down palm branches and their cloaks as Jesus rode into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1–17). They expected Him to be a military/political leader that would liberate them from the Romans and make Israel a great nation again. But they didn’t understand the nature of Jesus’ work at the time was for the New Covenant, not the Davidic Covenant. The 1,000-year reign will be the beginning of Jesus’ reign over Israel and the earth (Revelation 20:4, 6).

The New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34)
The work of the New Covenant—Jesus’ death and resurrection to reconcile hearts to God—has been accomplished. But we have not yet seen the complete fulfillment. Jeremiah 31:33 says, “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Ezekiel 36:28 gives more specifics: “You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.” Isaiah 59:20–21 explains that this covenant is possible because of the Redeemer, and the reconciliation He provides will last forever. This covenant does not mean that every Jew will be saved. But it does mean that Israel as a nation will worship their Messiah. The Old Testament prophets who spoke of this covenant, including Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, and Ezekiel, all wrote that it will be fulfilled in the future. From their time on, Israel has yet to be an independent nation that worshiped its Messiah (Romans 9—11). They will be in the 1,000-year reign of Christ.

Other Promises
Those are the covenants God made with Israel that are to be fulfilled in Jesus’ 1,000-year reign, but the Bible lists other promises that will be fulfilled, too. God promised Jesus He will make His enemies a footstool, and that Jesus’ followers will worship Him freely (Psalm 100). God promised the nations of the world that they would live in peace with Jesus as their ruler (Daniel 7:11–14). And He promised creation that the curse would be lifted (Romans 8:18–23), animals and the earth would be restored to peace and prosperity (Isaiah 11:6–9; 32:13–15), and people would be freed from disease (Ezekiel 34:16). These, too, will be fulfilled during the 1,000-year reign.

The main purpose of Jesus’ 1,000-year reign is to fulfill the prophecies given to Israel and the promises made to Jesus, the nations, and the whole earth. God’s covenants were voluntary and one-sided. He promised He would bless Israel and restore the world in specific ways, and He will.

Prophet Nathan Emol

IS SAYING REST IN PEACE FOR SOMEONE WHO HAS DIED BIBLICAL?

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The acronym RIP (or R.I.P.) is often seen carved on tombstones, and the words rest in peace are often heard at wakes and funerals. It comes from the Latin blessing requiescat in pace (literally, “may he begin to rest in peace”). Is it biblical to say, “Rest in peace”? The expression “rest in peace” is never used in Scripture in connection with a person who had died. So, in that sense, saying “Rest in peace,” is not expressly biblical.

At the end of the book of Daniel, an angel speaks of Daniel’s death, saying, “You will rest” (Daniel 12:3). And the prophet Isaiah says, “Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death” (Isaiah 57:2). These two passages are the closest the Bible comes to the idea behind RIP. Still, the exact words rest in peace are not used.

Because the thought of death can be frightening, people through the years have invented some platitudes with which to comfort themselves. When someone dies, we often hear unbiblical statements such as “She’s an angel now” and “God needed another angel in heaven”; sometimes, we hear the bromide “He’s in a better place,” spoken with no thought that he might actually be in a worse place. People who never have time for God suddenly grow religious at a funeral. They try to assure themselves and others that, regardless of the deceased’s relationship with God while on earth, he or she is in heaven now. But we must not ignore what Scripture teaches.

The Bible is clear that physical death is not the end (Hebrews 9:27John 3:16–18). Jesus taught that there are only two options for every human being: heaven and hell (Matthew 10:2825:46Mark 9:43;). He gave a vivid picture of those two options in the story of the rich man and Lazarus, found in Luke 16:19–31. In this account, the rich man, who had given no thought of God during his earthly life, went to hell when he died. Lazarus, who possessed nothing on earth but a pure heart, was taken to paradise. Hell is described as a place of torment (verse 23), not a place of rest. According to Scripture, a person who dies without Christ is not “resting in peace” (see John 3:18). “‘There is no peace,’ says my God, ‘for the wicked’” (Isaiah 57:21).

However, death is entirely different for those who are “in Christ” (Romans 8:11 Corinthians 1:30). First Thessalonians 4:13 reminds us that, while it is natural to grieve for loved ones who have died, we do not need to grieve for believers in Christ as though we will never see them again. There is hope mixed with the sorrow. The Bible often refers to the dead in Christ as “those who are asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20Acts 13:361 Thessalonians 5:10). The biblical writers used sleep as a metaphor because death for a Christian is only temporary. Paul said that “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). Those who receive Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior are with Him in paradise when they die (Luke 23:43). So, after death Christians do enter a “rest,” and it is “peaceful.” However, is saying, “Rest in peace,” biblical?

The problem with saying, “Rest in peace,” is that it is framed as a prayer. In Latin, it is literally “May he begin to rest in peace.” Of course, praying for the dead is unbiblical. At the moment of death, a person’s fate is sealed. The Bible never teaches or even suggests that we should pray on behalf of those who have passed away. Saying, “Rest in peace,” writing “RIP,” and other forms of prayers for the dead are rooted in Catholic tradition, not the Word of God.

Prophet Nathan Emol

WHAT IS THE ETERNAL STATE OF A BELIEVER?

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A study of “the eternal state” is rightly seen as a subdivision of the greater study of eschatology, or the doctrine of last things. It must be admitted first that the only sure word of testimony regarding this subject is the Holy Bible; no other “holy book” or philosophy is as trustworthy or as informative as the Bible.

The Greek word most often translated “eternal” in the Bible is aionos, from which we get our word eon. Essentially, this word denotes having no beginning and no end, or having a beginning but no end, with respect to time. The exact meaning is always determined by the context. When this word is combined with “life” (Greek zoe), it denotes not only life without end, but a certain quality of life that is distinguished from mere biological life.

We know that all believers will receive resurrected bodies (1 Corinthians 15:42). Thus, we will not exist as disembodied spirits, but we will possess glorified bodies especially suited for an existence in the eternal state.

The Bible gives few details of what that state will be like. Scripture says that God creates a new heaven and a new earth, and the New Jerusalem descends from God to the new earth (Revelation 21:1-2). In this new creation, “the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God” (Revelation 21:3). “So, we will be with the Lord forever” (1 Thessalonians 4:17).

Our existence in the eternal state will be markedly different from what we are used to now: “There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4). The curse that came with sin will never hold sway again (Revelation 22:3). We can hardly imagine a world without pain or sorrow, but that’s what God promises—a reality beyond imagination. “As it is written: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him’” (1 Corinthians 2:9; cf. Isaiah 64:4).

Neither will our existence in the eternal state be marred by bad memories of the old earth. Joy will swallow up all distress: “Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind” (Isaiah 65:17).

The eternal state will involve serving the Lord (Revelation 22:3), seeing God face to face (verse 4), and living in perfect health (verse 2) and holiness (verse 5). Second Peter 3:13 says that the new heaven and earth will be “the home of righteousness.” Sin will not cast its shadow anywhere in that realm.

From the beginning of creation, it has been God’s plan to bring His redeemed ones to this place of completion and glory (Romans 8:30Philippians 1:6). No more sin, no more curse, no more death, no more good-byes—all because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. In the eternal state, God’s perfect plan will be brought to glorious realization, and mankind will accomplish its chief end, “to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.”

Prophet Nathan Emol