We all love happy endings. As a child, the first stories you hear start with “Once upon a time” and end with “they all lived happily ever after.” While the Bible is certainly not a fairy tale (despite what your college professor might have told you), it does begin at a point in time when God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). Unfortunately, not everyone lives happily ever after.
What we do with the knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ determines if we get our happy ending.
At the end of Revelation 19, the earth is silent just for a moment as God’s enemies are finally and completely defeated. The antichrist and the false prophet are thrown alive into hell, the lake of fire, and all who have chosen to rebel against God and follow them are killed with the very breath of God.
Life on earth as we know it ceases to exist.
Revelation 20 describes the next segment on God’s timeline of human history, the Millennium – the 1000-year reign of Jesus on earth. Satan is bound in the abyss and all his influence is removed. Scripture doesn’t tell us exactly how God prepares the earth for this time, but Daniel gives us a clue.
Daniel 12:11-12 – From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. How blessed is he who keeps waiting and attains to the 1,335 days!
We don’t know all that happens during this 45-day period. Perhaps God just speaks as He did in the original creation and all is beautifully restored in preparation for Jesus’ reign. Maybe God uses those 45 days to give everyone their assignments; we will all be serving Christ in this new kingdom. All those martyred during the Tribulation and the saints who have been raptured are now in glorified bodies, so we can conclude it is the protected remnant of Israel who enters the Millennium in physical bodies and will repopulate the earth.
It’s during this time that all the physical promises God made to Israel to restore them and give them back their land will be fulfilled. Some of the prophecies of Isaiah are understood as descriptions of this earthly Millennial kingdom.
Isaiah 11:6-10 – And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them. Also the cow and the bear will graze, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den. They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. Then in that day the nations will resort to the root of Jesse, who will stand as a signal for the peoples; and His resting place will be glorious.
At the end of the Millennium, God allows Satan out of his cage for just a short time. For a thousand years, the only influence on the earth has been the reign of Jesus, yet some will still choose Satan, showing us that even when sin is limited, man’s nature is to rebel. People will have a choice, just like the angels did who worshipped in the presence of God in heaven yet chose willingly to follow Satan. God provides a place without sin, and an environment without the presence of temptation by the enemy for a thousand years, yet when given the opportunity, some still make the wrong choice by their own free will.
At this final rebellion, Satan assembles his army on a broad plain surrounding Jerusalem, but there is no battle. Fire falls from heaven and they are devoured. Satan is thrown into the lake of fire, never to bother humanity again.
Just after this, we see the Great White Throne Judgment, where the unrighteous dead from all the ages come to life and stand before God to give account for their lives. The books are opened. Every single thing a person has done wrong will have been recorded, and at this judgment, all are found guilty because they stand in their own righteousness, having rejected the righteousness of Christ.
Revelation 20:15 – And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
As wonderful as the Millennium will be, it will only be a taste of eternity. We’ll see this described in the final two chapters of Revelation when God makes a completely new heaven and earth, and God Himself dwells among His people.
How will your story end? Will you get your happy ending? If your name is written in the Lamb’s book of life, the things that await you in the future are beyond your wildest imaginations. But if you choose to reject the gospel, and mock and scorn the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross for you, your future is one of darkness, pain, torment, isolation, and misery.
God gave us the gift of free will. The offer of salvation is still being extended. It’s not too late. Ask Him to show you the truth and let Him write your happy ending.
2 Peter 3:9 – The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.