Prelude to the Eternal State
The question may be asked, “What is the eternal State?” It is that timeless, dateless, uncharted, unlimited sphere where God is manifestly “all in all.”
The term, “The fulness of the Gentiles” (Rom. 11:25) will terminate when Christ descends to the air to receive from this world His own.
The term “The times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24) will conclude at the manifestation of Christ in glory.
During the thousand years of the righteous reign of Christ, Satan will be incarcerated in the bottomless pit (Rev. 20:1-3). The imprisonment of the devil makes his power ineffective. During that wonderful reign of our Lord Jesus Christ there will be many people born, many of whom shall yield feigned obedience to Him. When Satan is loosed from his prison house, he will go forth to deceive the peoples that dwell upon the earth, gathering many to his standard. With such an host, recruited from those born during the millennium, Satan will compass the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city (Rev. 20:8). This final plot to rebel against God will prove abortive; for fire will descend from Heaven and devour the whole mass.
Satan will be caught red-handed in his rebellion and will be cast into the Lake of Fire: this, said Christ, is the final doom “prepared for the devil and his angels.” The beast (or head of the revived Roman Empire) and the False Prophet (The Antichrist)have already been consigned to that flame which is never quenched.
The Great White Throne
Consequent upon this scene being enacted, there is the establishing of the Great White Throne where the unregenerate dead shall stand to hear their final doom pronounced. This is the closing scene in the great drama of man’s eventful history on the stage of time about to be enacted ere the curtain falls forever.
Heaven and earth have fled away, and time no longer exists. The throne is called a GREAT throne. Great, because of the august personage who occupies it. “The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son” (John 5:22). The Throne-Sitter is none other than the Man who died that men might live. The throne takes its character from the One who sits upon it. It is also designated a White throne. This reveals the character of the Judge. Holy and Righteous is His name. It will afford an opportunity of noting the contrast between black and white; the many lost souls who stand before the Throne for sentence, and the purity of the One who adorns that throne. Never was contrast in black and white like this: never!
Final judgment awaits the sinners who have repudiated every claim of God, and thwarted all the overtures of the Holy Spirit, and who await examination and sentence from the lips of the Judge of all the earth, who shall always do right. The sinners are not there to know whether they are going to be in Heaven or not: the fact that they are there is the proof of their lost estate, and their doom awaits them in the passing of the sentence by the righteous Judge. They were judged every man according to his works (Rev. 20:13).
Some have suggested that not all who appear at the Great White Throne will be finally doomed for they argue that because it does not say, “All were cast into the lake of fire,” but “Whosoever was not written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire,” the number of the lost is limited. This is begging the question for sin will have its answer in immediate judgment during the Millennium (Isa. 65:20). This means all who appear at the Great White Throne have failed to have part in the first resurrection upon whom the second death hath no power (Rev. 20:6). Had such been Christ’s, they certainly would have been raised and had their portion in the first resurrection: but they will be raised to judgment; and the fact of their presence there is the proof of their doom. They will be “cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death.” Such words should make the sinner tremble and quake, especially in the knowledge of the revelation that there is no escape from such judgment and such a final doom.
Tile Eternal State
The eternal state is the consummation of divine purpose; moreover, it is the summit of holy desire and hope.
There shall be New Heavens introduced as well as a New Earth wherein dwelleth righteousness (2 Peter 3:13). The New Heavens shall be the residence of the redeemed from Abel onward until the close of this present economy of grace, together with the martyred companies of Revelation during the Great Tribulation. They shall all be changed, and having borne the image of the earthy they shall also bear the image of the heavenly (1 Cor. 15:49).
The New Earth will be peopled by those who entered the millennial earth and refused to rally to the standard of Satan when the great revolt took place. When the mediatorial character of the coming Kingdom has been in operation for one thousand years, the Lord Jesus Christ shall hand it back to God, even the Father, that God may be all in all (1 Cor. 15:24-28).
This is God’s everlasting rest. In creation His rest was spoiled through the entrance of sin. Virtually He said, “I will get rest in Canaan.” Alas! this was spoiled by unbelief: now He says “I will find rest in Christ.” “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God” (Heb. 4:9): this is not only the millennial rest, but the eternal one.
The dissolution of the present Heavens and earth will be accomplished by fire as indicated in 2 Peter 3:10. The New Heavens and the New Earth shall abide forever.
In Revelation 21:1-8 we are given an insight into some of the salient features of that wonderful state. There will be no more sea. This being a symbolic book, we could appreciate the absence of sea, for the sea speaks of RESTLESSNESS. There will be the absence of restlessness in that eternal day. The sea is indicative of DESTRUCTION. This will be an unknown factor when the rays of eternal glory are diffused. Time has been the era of destruction: such has taken place both at the hands of God and of man. There will be nothing of that character then. The sea betokens DISTANCE which separates friends from friends. The dawn of Eternity will dismiss forever any thought of separation, and distance will be an unknown thing.
We are given a glimpse by faith at the descent of the holy city, the new Jerusalem, from God out of Heaven. The bridal character of the Bride is still as charming as when first she was presented to her heavenly Bridegroom; for she is seen as a bride adorned for her husband (Rev. 21:2).
In verse 3 of Revelation 21 we are informed that, consequent upon the vision of verse 2, the announcement is made, “The tabernacle of God is with men.” It does not say, “The temple,” but “The tabernacle.” The tabernacle was a moveable structure, and suggests that the city will not take up permanent residence in the New Earth, but shall move about according to the divine wisdom.
God shall dwell with them and they shall be His people. This is not applicable to Israel alone, but to all. He will be their God: yea, God will be all in all.
Sorrow, pain, crying and teardrops will be unknown then. These were symptoms of the old creation where sin had been so manifest, but “the former things have passed away”(Rev. 21:4). The One who made all things (Col. 1:16) will make all things new.
The last glimpse we have of Eternity is in verse 8 of Revelation 21. It is tragic when we consider the list of those who shall be cast into the lake of fire; and it commences with the ‘fearful’, i.e. those who are afraid to accept God’s provision. The work of Christ on the cross would have met their every need, but they were afraid to take the step lest their friends should laugh at them. The remainder of those listed among the lost makes sad reading.
From the midst of such declarations the Lord sends forth a wonderful appeal, saying, “I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.” Such a loving appeal should not be despised. The Lord will give the needed supply which can satisfy the soul forever. Are you thirsty? Accept the divine provision and you will never thirst again.