10.6 The continuation of the plan of salvation

After the conclusion of the first resurrection, Christ will establish His kingdom of peace on earth. Then the rule of Jesus Christ as King will be manifested without restriction. He is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9: 6). Satan will be bound and will no longer be able to tempt anyone to sin. Nevertheless, human beings will continue to be sinners, since the inclination to sin will not have been lifted. People will continue to be born and to die. Death will not yet have been suspended (Revelation 20: 14; cf. Isaiah 65: 20-21).

Exempted from this are the priests of God and Christ, who will have a spiritual body similar to that of the Lord (1 Corinthians 15: 44).

Christ's kingly rule, in which He includes His own as a royal priesthood, will last "a thousand years"–which symbolises a long, but limited time (Revelation 20: 6). It will then be possible to proclaim the gospel without impediment, and salvation will thus be offered during this time: the glad tidings will be brought to those living on earth and to the souls who dwell in the realms of the departed. In this way, all of mankind from all time periods will, by the end of the kingdom of peace, have become acquainted with the gospel of Christ.

The kingdom of peace will come to an end when Satan is released and given one last opportunity to tempt mankind. After his ultimate defeat, he will be condemned and "cast into the lake of fire and brimstone" (Revelation 20: 7-10). Evil in all its manifestations will then have been rendered powerless forever.

Then follows the resurrection of the dead for judgement (Revelation 20: 11-15). Christ will then judge all human beings who did not take part in the first resurrection.

The deciding factor in the verdict pronounced on each human being will be the attitude that he ultimately adopts toward Christ. Those who reject Him and whose names are not "written in the book of life" will remain in the misery of remoteness from God.

Those who find grace in the Last Judgement will become inhabitants of God's new creation and will be permitted to have eternal fellowship with Him.

For those who already reigned with Christ in the kingdom of peace as a royal priesthood, the following promise will be fulfilled in the new creation: "... and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever" (Revelation 22: 3-5).

The expectation recorded in 2 Peter 3: 13 will then become reality: "Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells" (Isaiah 65: 17). God will replace the old creation with a new one, and the words will be fulfilled: "He [God] will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God" (Revelation 21: 3). This kingdom of God will be eternal, and then God will be all in all (1 Corinthians 15: 28).

SUMMARY

The rapture of the bridal congregation is followed by the marriage of the Lamb. This image for the eschatological marriage feast is a reference to the everlasting fellowship of the firstlings with the Lord. (10.2)

Jesus Christ as the Lamb signifies that the abased and crucified Son of God is, at the same time, the Triumphant and Victorious One. He is the bridegroom. (10.2)

After the return of Christ, a time in which both human beings and the creation will be exposed to the power of Satan will begin: the great tribulation. The image of the woman clothed with the sun–after she has given birth to the male child–refers to those Christians who were not caught up to Jesus Christ. They continue to experience divine support and spiritual nourishment. (10.3)

After the marriage in heaven the Son of God will return to the earth with the firstlings and put an end to the time of the great tribulation. Satan's followers will then be judged. (10.4)

After Satan's power has been taken away, the resurrection of the martyrs from the great tribulation will take place. (10.4)

All those who were caught up in the rapture at the return of Christ, as well as the martyrs from the great tribulation, will share in the first resurrection. They will not have to partake in the Last Judgement. (10.5)

After the conclusion of the first resurrection, Christ will establish His kingdom of peace on earth. At the end of the kingdom of peace all human beings of all time periods will have received the gospel of Christ. After Satan has been given one last opportunity to tempt mankind, he will be permanently defeated and judged. Evil in all forms will from then on be rendered powerless forever. (10.6)

This is followed by the resurrection of the dead for judgement. Those who find grace in the Last Judgement will become inhabitants of God's new creation and have eternal fellowship with Him. (10.6)

See also