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Heaven on Earth - Revelation 20:1-6

Taught on | Keywords: millennial kingdom, millennial reign, Satan, tribulation, premillennial view, postmillennial view, amillennial view, biblical literalism, peace, war, animals, creation, earth, the curse, covenant, new heaven, new earth

Mankind long ago gave up on the idea of a future utopia. The thought of perpetual peace and undisturbed harmony became the stuff of fairy tales. But that is precisely what God promised He will bring to this earth one day. Though Satan has exercised a temporary authority over God’s creation for several millennia, the story isn’t over yet. Jesus will return to rule for a thousand years. And it won’t just be a spiritual kingdom in the hearts of His followers. This will be a literal dominion over a renewed earth. Let’s explore this thousand-year phase of your eternal future.

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4/24/2016
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Heaven on Earth
Revelation 20:1-6
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
Mankind long ago gave up on the idea of a future utopia. The thought of perpetual peace and undisturbed harmony became the stuff of fairy tales. But that is precisely what God promised He will bring to this earth one day. Though Satan has exercised a temporary authority over God’s creation for several millennia, the story isn’t over yet. Jesus will return to rule for a thousand years. And it won’t just be a spiritual kingdom in the hearts of His followers. This will be a literal dominion over a renewed earth. Let’s explore this thousand-year phase of your eternal future.
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What's Next?

What's Next?

We live in a culture that is constantly asking, "What's next?" We want to know the latest fashions, trends, stocks, and gadgets. In a world that's always looking for the next big thing, we can sometimes forget the most important thing. As Christians, we are called to wait with anticipation for the return of Christ. In this series through the book of Revelation, we look forward and ask ourselves, "What's next?"

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Outline

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  1. The Extent of It (vv. 1-6)

  2. The Explanation of It (v. 2)

    1. Premillennial View

    2. Postmillennial View

    3. Amillennial View

  3. The Essentiality of It (v. 3)
  4. Three Reasons the Millennium Is Necessary

Study Guide

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Connect Group Recap: April 24, 2016
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "Heaven on Earth"
Text: Revelation 20:1-6

Path

Though Satan has exercised a temporary authority over God's creation for several millennia, the story isn't over yet; Jesus will return to rule for a thousand years. And it won't just be a spiritual kingdom in the hearts of His followers. This will be a literal dominion over a renewed earth. Pastor Skip explored this thousand-year phase of our eternal future:
  1. The Extent of It (vv. 1-6)
  2. The Explanation of It (v. 2)
    1. Premillennial View
    2. Postmillennial View
    3. Amillennial View
  3. The Essentiality of It (v. 3)
    • Three Reasons the Millennium Is Necessary
Points

The Extent of It (vv. 1-6)
  • Both the Old and New Testament state the precise amount of time of the millennium: 1,000 years.
  • The millennium will begin with an incarceration: an angel bearing a key of God's authority will seize Satan and bind him for 1,000 years.
  • The millennium will continue with administration: Jesus will set up His kingdom on earth and give certain groups authority to rule:
    • Tribulation saints (see v. 4)
    • Old Testament saints (see Daniel 12:13; Jeremiah 30:9)
    • Twelve Apostles (see Matthew 19:28)
    • New Testament saints (see 1 Corinthians 6:2-4; Revelation 5:9-10)
  • Dallas Willard said, "Perhaps it would be a good exercise for each of us to ask ourselves: Really, how many cities could I now govern under God? If, for example, Baltimore or Liverpool were turned over to me, with power to do what I want with it, how would things turn out? An honest answer to this question might do much to prepare us for our eternal future in this universe."
The Explanation of It (v. 2)
  • Three views of the kingdom:
    • Premillennial: Jesus will return before the millennium and then rule physically from earth. This was the dominant view of the early church and is the most compelling and accurate interpretation.
    • Postmillennial: Jesus will come after a golden age—the Christianization of the world, which Christians will present to Christ. This view came to prominence after the Enlightenment and through the Industrial Revolution. It viewed civilization as continually improving, but it lost steam after the twentieth century was filled with war and genocide. It has made recent comebacks in the forms of Liberation, Kingdom, and Dominion theologies.
    • Amillennial: there is no literal 1,000 years, and the book of Revelation is figurative and spiritual. This view says that the church age we live in now—the age after Christ's resurrection and ascension—is, in fact, the kingdom age.
  • What will the kingdom be like? Among other things, we will see:
    • The animal kingdom tamed (see Isaiah 11:6-8)
    • A lush biosphere (see Isaiah 35:1-2, 6-7)
    • Disabilities healed (see Isaiah 35:5-6)
    • Great longevity of life (see Isaiah 65:20-22)
The Essentiality of It (v. 3)
  • The millennium is essential for three key reasons:
    • To redeem creation from judgment—to release us from the curse of Genesis 3:15. It's God's answer to the prayer, "Your kingdom come" (Matthew 6:10; see also Luke 11:2).
    • To realize God's promises to Israel, especially about David's throne (see 2 Samuel 7; Psalm 89)
    • To reveal man's true nature—even under perfect conditions, those born after the kingdom is set up will sin, showing once and for all that sinful man is in need of a Savior
Practice

Connect Up: Read Luke 19:11-27. How does God expect you to serve Him in this life? How will that be rewarded in the kingdom? Because Christians will reign with Christ, how are you preparing now for life during the millennium?

Connect In: Pastor Skip quoted C.S. Lewis: "If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world." Discuss how you think living under Christ's direct rule in the kingdom will be more satisfying than living in our current world.

Connect Out: Pastor Skip ended this teaching with two questions: He asked believers, "Are you seeking the kingdom?" Then he asked unbelievers, "Will you be part of God's kingdom?" Take time to pray about greater involvement in God's kingdom and how you can help others find a place within it. All of this requires service and evangelism. In what ways can you better serve and reach out for the cause of Christ?

Detailed Notes

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  1. Introduction
    1. Politicians are the scapegoats for many of our problems
      1. We blame them for everything
      2. We expect them to fix everything
    2. There is an era of righteousness coming (see Isaiah 11:9; Daniel 2:31-45)
      1. The final kingdom of our Lord
      2. A world without war
      3. Things are always fair
      4. No illness
      5. No hunger
      6. Anything but boring
    3. Millennial reign of Christ on this earth
  2. The Extent of It (vv. 1-6)
    1. 1,000 years
      1. This phrase is used six times in this passage
      2. Mille = a thousand
      3. Annum = years
      4. Reign of Christ on this earth
    2. Other terms for the millennium
      1. The regeneration (see Matthew 19:28)
      2. Times of refreshing (see Acts 3:19)
      3. Times of the restoration of all things (see Acts 3:21)
    3. Begins with an incarceration
      1. Satan will be thrown in jail
      2. By an angel, possibly the archangel Michael (see Daniel 10:13; 12:1; Jude 9; Revelation 12:7)
      3. Satan will be bound for 1,000 years
        1. Angel will have the key to the bottomless pit
        2. A key designates authority
    4. Continues with an administration
      1. A group of individuals on thrones
        1. Tribulation believers
        2. Old Testament believers (see Daniel 7:18)
        3. Jesus' apostles (see Matthew 19:28)
        4. New Testament believers (see 1 Corinthians 6:2; 2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 5:10)
      2. We will rule with God on this restored earth for 1,000 years (see Matthew 25:21-23; Luke 19:17)
  3. The Explanation of It (v. 2)
    1. Is it really, literally 1,000 years?
    2. Premillennial View
      1. Jesus will come back before the millennium
      2. Reigns for 1,000 years from the throne of David
      3. Primary view of the church for the first three centuries
    3. Postmillennial View
      1. Jesus will come back after the millennium
        1. Jesus will come after a golden age that the church will bring in
        2. We will gospel-ize the entire world
        3. The world will get better and better and then we will give the kingdom to Jesus
      2. This view died off with the onset of modern calamities like World Wars 1 and II, the Great Depression, etc.
        1. Making a comeback with dominion/kingdom theology
        2. We the church will take dominion of the earthly institutions and bring in the kingdom
    4. Amillennial View
      1. There really is not a millennium
        1. The kingdom is now
        2. We are spiritual Israel
      2. This is as good as it gets
    5. There is really no other way to interpret the Bible rather than literally
      1. If you have a problem with a literal 1,000-year reign, then you have a problem with the entire book of Revelation
      2. It is very exact with its numbers
      3. If we do not believe in the Bible literally, then who will tell us what it actually means?
    6. What will the world look like without Satan?
      1. Peace, not war (see Isaiah 2:4)
      2. Animal kingdom will be tamed (see Isaiah 11:6-9)
      3. Biosphere will be lush (see Isaiah 35:1-4, 7)
      4. Disabilities will be healed (see Isaiah 35:5-6)
      5. Longevity of life (see Isaiah 65:20)
  4. The Essentiality of It (v. 3)
    1. The millennium is necessary to redeem creation from the judgment
      1. There has been a curse on this creation since the fall of man (see Genesis 3)
      2. The earth will be trashed during the tribulation period
        1. By God
        2. By the Devil
        3. By man
      3. God will make the earth beautiful
      4. The kingdom will come (see Matthew 6:10; Luke 11:2)
    2. The millennium is necessary to fulfill all the promises God made to the nation of Israel
      1. Covenant with David (see 2 Samuel 7:12-16; Psalm 89:3-4)
      2. When the millennium is over, the earth will be completely destroyed
      3. God will make a new heaven and new earth
  5. Closing
    1. If you are a believer, what is your relationship to what Jesus told you in the Sermon on the Mount? (see Matthew 6:31-33)
      1. Are you pursuing a life dominated by God?
      2. Who is ruling you?
    2. If you are an unbeliever, will you be a part of His kingdom?
      1. Begins with a relationship with the King of Kings
      2. You will join Him in His earthly and heavenly kingdom
    3. There is something more
      1. We were made for a different world
      2. God put our eternity in our hearts
Figures referenced: Vance Havner, Hippolytus, Irenaeus, C.S. Lewis, Justin Martyr, Papias, Psuedo-Barnabas, Tertullian, John Walvoord, Dallas Willard
Latin words: annum, mille
Cross references: Genesis 3; 2 Samuel 7:12-16; Psalm 89:3-4; Isaiah 2:4; 11:6-9; 35:1-7; 65:20; Daniel 2:31-45; 7:18; 10:13; 12:1; Matthew 6:10, 31-33; 19:28; 25:21-23; Luke 11:2; 19:17; Acts 3:19, 21; 1 Corinthians 6:2; 2 Timothy 2:12; Jude 9; Revelation 5:10; 12:7
Topic: The Millennium
Keywords: millennial kingdom, millennial reign, Satan, tribulation, premillennial view, postmillennial view, amillennial view, biblical literalism, peace, war, animals, creation, earth, the curse, covenant, new heaven, new earth

Keywords: millennial kingdom, millennial reign, Satan, tribulation, premillennial view, postmillennial view, amillennial view, biblical literalism, peace, war, animals, creation, earth, the curse, covenant, new heaven, new earth

Transcript

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Hello, and welcome to this message from Pastor Skip Heitzig of Calvary, Albuquerque. We pray God uses these teachings to impact others for his glory, and we're excited to hear how lives are being changed by his perfect love. If this messaging encourages you, we'd like to know. Email us at mystory@calvaryabq.org. And if you'd like to support this ministry financially, you can give online securely at Calvaryabq.org/giving.

The idea of a worldwide utopia seems far-fetched to us, but that's exactly what we have to look for to when Christ returns. As we continue our series, What's Next? We learn about Jesus' 1,000 year reign over a renewed earth. Now, as Skip begins the message, "Heaven on Earth," we invite you to turn in your bibles to Revelation, chapter 20.

I heard about a guy who found out that you could get a brain operation that would give him a brand new brain. And he thought that'd be a good idea. He wanted a brain transplant. So he went into this hospital where the surgery had been perfected and he wanted to find out what was in stock, what kind of brains were in stock. And so the head of that medical department said, well, here's an excellent engineer's brain, finely honed. It's a precise bit of gray matter. It will go for $500 an ounce.

So the guy said, oh, OK. Anything else to choose from? And they said, well here's a lawyer's brain. It's a collection of shrewd, tricky little gray cells. It goes for $1,000 an ounce. Oh, great. Any more? They said, well, here's a doctor's brain. It's packed full of anatomical knowledge, and it sells for $5,000 an ounce. The guy thought, well, those are pretty good choices. Is that it? Are there any other choices I have? And so they motioned for him to come back, to step over to a covered container, and in hushed tones, they leaned in and said to him, this is a politician's brain.

[LAUGHTER]

But it sells for $250,000 an ounce. The man thought, what? A quarter million dollars an ounce? Why is it so expensive? And they said, in the first place, it's hardly used.

[LAUGHTER]

And then the second place, do you realize how many politicians you need to get an ounce of brains?

[APPLAUSE]

Well, I thought you'd appreciate that in lieu of the current climate we find ourselves in. But you know, politicians are the scapegoat of many of our problems. It seems that we blame them for anything and we expect them to fix everything. But it's just could never happen. But do you know that the Bible speaks about a time that is coming, a time of righteousness on this earth. Not just in heaven-- on this earth. Isaiah the prophet spoke, predicted of that righteous era, saying, the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters covered the sea. And do you realize that Daniel the prophet also anticipated the time of an earthly kingdom?

Nebuchadnezzar the king had a dream, as you know. Daniel interpreted it for him. The king saw a succession of earthly kingdoms, all that would be destroyed by a rock that came out of heaven-- grew into a large mountain that filled the whole earth. And Daniel said, that is the final kingdom of our Lord that will be upon this earth. Well, try to imagine that. Imagine a world without any war, imagine a world that's always at peace. A world that is, as Thomas Moore coined, the word, a utopia. A utopia.

Try to imagine a world, an earth where it's always fair. Things are always fair. Where politicians are all saints. You really have to use your imagination, as I said. Where it's ruled by one perfect mind. Imagine a world where the health is so good that if a person dies at age 100, he said to die as a child. Imagine a world where kids can play with snakes and find the snakes friendly-- and the snakes can find the kids friendly.

[LAUGHTER]

Imagine a world where the food is over abundant and plentiful, even though the world is very, very populated. Well, as you're imagining that, let me quickly tell you, you don't have to imagine that. Because that is a world that is coming, the Bible predicts in hundreds of places throughout the Old and the New Testament. This time is spoken of over and over again. It's described in the Bible. There were two believers having a conversation speaking to each other, two Christian believers. And one said, I have a one way ticket to heaven and I don't intend to come back. And the other one said, well you're going to miss a lot.

He said, I have a return ticket. I'm going to be with the Lord in glory, but I intend to come back with him to rule and to reign with him on this earth. Now for that to happen-- for that to happen, this earth has to have an extreme makeover. There has to be a reconstruction that occurs, which is what the Bible describes. The more I study the future and future things-- it's called eschatology-- the more I realize it's going to be anything but boring. That it's such a variety-- If you have the idea that all we're going to do is sit on a cloud and sing Gregorian chant, you're going to be greatly surprised to find it's anything but that.

In fact, heaven seems to be multi-faceted. That is, when we look at eternity, there are different stages to it. There are different phases and facets and segments. That's why chapter 20 of Revelation is very, very important. John Walvoord, who taught this stuff for 50 some years at Dallas Seminary, said, "very few verses in the Bible are more critical to the interpretation of the Bible as a whole than the opening verses of Revelation 20."

So we're going to look at Revelation 20-- verses 1 through six, six or seven, right around there-- and we're going to look at what I call, heaven on earth. The millennial, the 1,000 year reign of Jesus on the earth. And I simply want to show you three facets of this coming earthly kingdom. I want to show you the extent of it, I want to give you the explanation of it, and then I want to show you the essentially of it. Let's begin with the extent-- verse one.

"Then I saw in angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for 1,000 years. And he cast him into the bottomless pit and shut him up and set a seal on him so that he should deceive the nations no more till the 1,000 years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while. And I saw thrones and they sat on them and judgment was committed to them.

Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshipped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for 1,000 years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the 1,000 years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such, the second death has no power. But they shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with him 1,000 years. Now when the 1,000 years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison."

Now I to draw your attention, first of all, to that phrase used six times in seven verses-- 1,000 years. Six times it uses that little phrase, 1,000 years, 1,000 years, 1,000 years, 1,000 years. So now we know the extent of it. It's going to last how long?

1,000.

1,000 years and we're told it six times just in case if you read at the first, you go, well, I don't know if that's-- how long is it? 1,000 years. That's where we get the term, "millennium," by the way. Millennium comes from two Latin words, "mille", which means 1,000, and "annum", which means years. Mille-annum, millennium is a 1,000 year period. That is the millennial kingdom, the millennium is the thousand year reign of Christ on the earth. There was a theology student taking a test and the first question on the exam was, what is the millennium? He hadn't studied very much and he said, he wrote on the test, the millennium is the same as the centennial only has a lot more legs.

[LAUGHTER]

He was getting his theology and his insects a little bit mixed up. There are literally hundreds of texts in the Old Testament and the New Testament that describe this period, but only here we are told, how long it lasts. Here we are told, six times, it lasts 1,000 years. The millennium, it goes by other synonyms, other terms. Jesus called it "the regeneration," Matthew 19:28. The regeneration when the Son of Man sits on the throne of his glory. In Acts chapter three, it is called the times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord. A few verses later is called the time of the restoration of all things.

Now in reading our text, we discover something about this period of time. It begins with an incarceration. Somebody gets thrown in jail, and that is Satan. We saw in the first three verses that an angel comes from heaven-- we don't know which angel, possibly Michael the Archangel described in Revelation 12, Daniel 10 and 12, and Jude, verse nine. It could be Michael, and he has a very specific agenda. He comes from heaven with a very specific plan to seize and to incarcerate Satan, it says, for 1,000 years. The millennium can't begin without this.

And when this happens, it must feel like the munchkins in The Wizard of Oz. Right? Ding, dong, the witch is dead. Only this which is just incarcerated for 1,000 years. Notice it says he has not just a key, but he comes down with the key, the key to the bottomless pit. A key designates authority. If you have the key, you control the door. Here at Calvary we have different keys for different sections of the campus, but there's a certain key, If you have this key-- the A key-- you can get anywhere.

By the way, I can even get anywhere. A lot of times, my key doesn't work. But this angel has the A key. And what a great day this must be for this angel. It's like the police who gets to arrest the notorious criminal and toss him into jail. This angel gets to grab, seize, bind Satan-- this is, by the way, when he is bound and incarcerated for 1,000 years. Begins with an incarceration. And then you'll notice in verse four, it continues with an administration. Notice what it says, "And I saw--" what's the next word?

Thrones. Is that singular or plural? That's plural. Not just a throne, I saw thrones, plural. "And they--" whoever they are, "sat on them and judgment was committed to them." So it's a group. Now we know Jesus is the ultimate ruler. He's called, in the previous chapter, King of kings and Lord of Lords. So he is the ultimate ruler. But there is, according to this, a plurality of administration. So who's the they? And the them? Well, you'll notice in verse four, at least, part of the answer-- it says, "I saw the souls of those who had been headed for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshipped the beast or his image, had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands, and they lived and reigned-- reigned with Christ, for 1,000 years."

So these are tribulation believers. We have already seen, they went through, they were persecuted, they were killed. They will be resurrected and they will reign with Christ. But let me ask you a question. Who else did God make promises to, that they would reign or rule with him in the future? Can you think of any? Well, number one, I can think of one group. Old Testament believers. People like Abraham, like Moses, like Daniel, like Joseph, like David. In Daniel chapter 7, in verse 18, it says the saints of the most high shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever. That's one group.

Another special group Jesus gave promises to wear his own 12 apostles, his own men, his own staff. On one occasion, Jesus said to his 12, Matthew 19:19, "I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on 12 thrones, judging the 12 tribes of Israel." So we have Old Testament saints, we have the 12 apostles.

There's another group Jesus, or the Bible makes a promise that we will reign with him, and that's us. New Testament believers. When Paul wrote to the Corinthians he said in first Corinthians six, "don't you know, someday, we Christians will judge the world?" And Paul wrote to Timothy and said, "if we endure with him, we will also reign with him." Then finally, listen to this. This is Revelation chapter five. We've already looked at that chapter. The church is in heaven. The church is singing to the Lord. Revelation five, listen to this-- "And he has made us kings and priests to our God, and we"-- listen to this-- "and we shall reign on the earth." "We shall rain on the earth." So it couldn't be more clear.

Now look at verse six-- "blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such, the second death has no power. But they shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with him 1,000 years." So all the resurrected saints of all the ages-- Old Testament believers, the apostles, New Testament believers, tribulation believers-- all resurrected, raining with Christ for 1,000 years.

Now some of you are thinking, man, that sounds like a lot of work. I don't picture heaven like that. This isn't my idea of heaven. Well this isn't heaven, this is heaven on earth. This is one of the phases of your eternal future. You and your glorified-- and let me underscore that-- you're going to have glorified bodies, you're going to have renewed minds. You're not going to get tired. When I was in high school my mom tried to wake me up for school in the morning, and I said, I'm too tired. I can't have that excuse in the future. I'll have a brand new body with brand new capabilities. I'll be tired less.

And I'm expecting to rule and reign with Christ for 1,000 years. Jesus gave a parable of a master speaking to a servant, saying, well done, good and faithful servant-- listen to the language-- you are faithful over a little. I will make you a ruler over 10 cities. That's just an interesting idea. It's so interesting the Dallas Willard, in one of his books wrote this. And I quote, "Perhaps it would be a good exercise for each of us to ask ourselves-- really, how many cities could I govern under God? If, for example Baltimore or Liverpool were turned over to me with power to do what I want with it, how would things turn out? An honest answer to this question might do much to prepare us for our eternal future in the universe," end quote.

Let me just say for the record-- for the record. For me, forget Liverpool, forget Baltimore. I got dibs on Kauai. If I'm going to rule something, that's the place. But we'll see. That's the extent of it. It's 1,000 years on a reconstructed earth. Now I want to move to a second facet of this earthly kingdom, and that is the explanation of it. We've noted six times in seven verses that phrase, 1,000 years, occurs. Do you realize that chapter 20 and that phrase, in particular, is the center of a theological battleground for years. And it all revolves around that term, 1,000 years. And here's the question, here's the issue, here's the argument, here's the battleground. Is that 1,000 years really 1,000 years? Is that a literal, actual thing and time period? Or is at just a spiritualized, figurative number thrown out there to just mean, long time, don't know how long, just long time. Sometime. Any time. A long time.

Is it just some figurative spiritual issue? So in answering that issue, there are three viewpoints. Three viewpoints. First viewpoint is called the premillennial viewpoint. Premillennialism. I know it's a big word. Premillennial means that we believe Jesus will come back before-- pre-- millennium. That's all. He comes back, first, to the earth from heaven. And then he reigns for 1,000 years from the throne of David in Jerusalem. That's a premillennial viewpoint. I believe that if you read the Bible straightforward, pretty much chronologically and you interpret the Bible normally, you will come up with a premillennial viewpoint.

By the way, this was the dominant view of the early church for the first three centuries. First three centuries. It wasn't until the fourth century when a group of people in Alexandria, Egypt, called the school in Alexandria, decided that the Bible should be looked at mystically, not literally. But it's an allegory. But for the first three centuries, the great scholars like Papias, pseudo-Barnabas, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Hippolytus all looked at a literal 1,000 year reign of Christ-- on earth-- Jesus coming before that. So that's premillennial. Second is a postmillennial view. If you've been to seminary, you're going to it right now. A postmillennial view-- that is, we believe Jesus-- they believe Jesus will come back after-- post-- after the millennium.

And the way it works, they say, is that Jesus will come after a golden age which we bring in. We will Christianize the world. The church will preach the gospel to the whole world, and the world will get better and better and better and more Christian than it's ever been before. And then we'll give the kingdom to Jesus when it comes and sets up an eternal state. You say, who on earth believes that? Well, that was a popular view in the late 19th century and early 20th century with things like the Industrial Revolution, lots of scientific advancements, a lot of optimism because of that. But then what happened to that idea? I'll tell you what happened to it. World War I happened to it. The Great Depression in America happened to it. World War II happened to it. Nazi Germany happened to it. On and on and on and on. Lots of real-life experience happened to that viewpoint.

So optimism died off. However, that viewpoint has sort of come back in what is called dominion theology, kingdom theology. That is, we, the church, will take dominion of this earth-- take dominion of earthly institutions, take dominion of the government, put a Christian in the White House, Christian in the government, and we'll bring in the kingdom and we'll turn the kingdom over to Jesus. As if he needs our help.

A third viewpoint is called amillennialism, or the amillennial view, that is, the belief that there really isn't a millennium at all. It's not a liberal 1,000 years, it's all figurative, it's all spiritualized. In fact, the kingdom is now. This is it. You're in the kingdom. The kingdom is the church age. All the promises they say that God made to Israel are null and void, they're fulfilled in the church. We are spiritual Israel. There is no literal revived Israel. There's no literal Jesus reigning from Jerusalem, the throne of David. All that's figurative. It just means the church age. So what they tell us is this is as good as it gets. This is as good as it gets.

Can I just say in response to that-- if this is the kingdom, I'm terribly disappointed. If you call this the kingdom, then this is one of those cases where the book is better than the movie. Because what I read in this book doesn't look anything like what I see around me, even in the church age. The most compelling reason to look at the Bible literally, and even the Book of Revelation this way in a premillennial view, is really there's no other way to interpret it. If you interpret the rest of the Bible literally, but then when it comes to prophecy it doesn't mean what it says it means, you've got problems. You open a Pandora's box. Here's why if 1,000 doesn't mean 1,000, what does it mean? What are you going to tell me it means? If it doesn't mean 1,000, you're going to have to [INAUDIBLE] say, I don't know what it means, but it doesn't mean what it says it means.

And see, you have then a problem, not just with 1,000 years, you have a problem with the whole book of Revelation, because it's very exact in its numbers. You read about seven churches, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 apostles-- are they not literal, either? A third of mankind, two witnesses, 42 months, 1,260 days, 12,000 furlongs-- the Bible's very clear about the numbers that are in it. So I agree with Vance Havner, who said it's always easier to understand what the Bible says then to understand what someone thinks it meant to say. So when somebody says I know it says 1,000, but it means anything but 1,000, you open Pandora's box. Who's going to tell you what anything means then?

Well, let's push that aside for a minute. With the devil incarcerated, with the devil gone, what a wonderful world it will be. That dramatically alters lots of things. What's the earth going to look like, according to the Bible? Well, according to the Bible, during that time it will be a time of peace, not war. They will beat their swords into plowshares-- Isaiah chapter two-- their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither what they learn to make war anymore. And that is by Messiah's kingdom that text makes very, very clear. Today people march for peace, join peace movements, make peace signs, give out peace prizes-- but there's one thing that is glaringly absent in all of that-- peace.

That will be a time of peace, worldwide. Earth-wide peace. A second thing-- and by the way, there are hundreds, I just don't have time. I'll give you the highlights. Second thing, the animal kingdom will be tamed. The curse will be at least partially removed, creation will be freed. Listen to what it says Isaiah 11-- and the wolf and the lamb will lie down together. That doesn't happen-- it can't happen now. If a wolf and a lamb lay down together, the wolf will get up and the lamb will be gone. The wolf and the lamb will live together, the leopard and the goat will be at peace. The child will put his hand into a nest of deadly snakes and pull it out unharmed.

Today we need zoos to appreciate these creatures. I was in Kenya one time, and we were in a truck. We were in an old Land Rover. I was in the back and we saw a little group of lions over in one section, so we drove over there. And I rolled down my window and I put my neck and half my upper body way out, and I stretched way out with a telephoto lens, and the driver very calmly said, don't do that. Get back in the car, roll the window up. And it was very calm and I rolled it up, and then he proceeded to tell me about the people who have been mauled by lions doing what I had just done.

That impulse will be gone. The animal kingdom will be tamed. A third thing, the biosphere will be lush. There will be a new global ecological system and hydrological system. Isaiah 35-- even the wilderness will rejoice in those days. The desert will blossom with flowers. The deserts will become-- listen to this, we who live in Albuquerque-- the deserts will become as green as the mountains of Lebanon. Springs will gush forth in the wilderness and streams will water the desert. Albuquerque's going to look like England. The west side is going to look like Western Oregon.

There will be the healing of disabilities, Isaiah 35. He will open the eyes of the blind and unstop the ears of the deaf. The lame will leap like a deer and those who cannot speak will shout and sing. Can you imagine perpetual health? No aches, no pains? No doctors, no HMOs, no Advil? Another thing is longevity. Isaiah 65-- never again, never again will there be an infant who lives a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years. He who dies of 100 will be thought a mere youth. By the way, I've mentioned before, joy to the world the Lord is come? Right? And that's speaking about the second coming?

Have you ever thought of the third stanza of "Joy to the World"? It's all about the millennium. The third stanza-- "no more let sin and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground. All of that language comes from Isaiah speaking about this earthly kingdom. So we looked at the extent of it and the explanation of it. I want to close with a third facet of this coming earthly kingdom, that's essentially of it, the necessity of it. Here's the question, and usually believers don't even spend this much time thinking about it. Why do we even need a millennium? What's the whole purpose here? Why hassle with 1,000 years on earth? Why not just go directly to the eternal state? Sort of like a Monopoly game, right? Go directly to heaven, do not pass earth, do not collect $200.

Why do we need it? There are several reasons. Let me give you just a couple. Number one, the millennium is needed to redeem creation from the curse, from the judgment. There's been a curse on this creation since the fall of man in Genesis chapter 3 that has not been undone. The millennium is the answer to that, to reverse it. Also during the tribulation period, this earth is going to get completely trashed. Worst thing to be is an environmentalist in the tribulation, because it's going to get trashed by God, by the devil, and by man. But God, in the Millennium, takes and makes it beautiful. Thus, the millennium is God's answer to our prayers for so long-- thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. It's needed to redeem the curse from judgment.

A second reason the Millennium is needed is to fulfill all of those promises God made to the nation of Israel. The Scripture is filled with promises of an earthly kingdom as well as a heavenly kingdom to the people of Israel. God made a covenant with David, second Samuel, chapter seven, that somebody would come from his own body who would rule over a kingdom that would be an eternal kingdom. And in David's mind, he wasn't thinking about heaven. He was thinking about a local, real, earthly dominion. And then that covenant was confirmed by an oath, Psalm 89 tells us, a heavenly and an earthly kingdom. The millennium, then, is phase one of the eternal plan God has for the future.

And when the millennium is over, it's the end of human history on this earth. This earth will then be destroyed completely and God will make a new heaven and a new earth with a new capital city called New Jerusalem. Those are a couple of reasons. There are more, but we don't have the time. I want to leave you with two questions as we close. And the two questions-- one is a question directed at Christians, believers, you who claim to believe in Jesus. And then the second is a question for the unbeliever, the person who admits, you know what? I have a good side to me, and I even think spiritual thoughts from time to time, but I am not following Christ.

First is my question to believers. As a believer, what is your relationship to what Jesus told you on the Sermon on the Mount? Let me explain. In the sermon on the mount, Jesus at one point said, this earth is filled with people who make everything about themselves and they worry about their own life all the time. It's all about seeking their own little kingdom, he says. But you, seek first the Kingdom of God. Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you. So what is your relationship to what Jesus told you on the sermon on the mount? Are you pursuing a life dominated by God? Are you pursuing a life under the dominion of King Jesus? Who is ruling you? That's the first question. That's for you to think about, meditate on, make as an object of prayer or change.

Second is a question directed to the unbeliever. Will you be a part of his kingdom? This is an invitation. Will you be a part of his kingdom? And that begins with a relationship with the King. A personal relationship with the King of kings and the Lord of lords, the Lord Jesus Christ, where he becomes your master, your Savior, your Lord, and you come under his dominion, his kingship, and eventually you will join him in both an earthly and heavenly kingdom. I can almost-- no, I can guarantee you, I can guarantee you, that you've all had thoughts like this. Is there something more? Is there something better? Is there something more satisfying and fulfilling than what I have already experienced? Is there something more, another dimension to life?

Yes, it's called the kingdom. It's called the kingship of Jesus. CS Lewis put it this way, "If I find within myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for a different world." That makes sense to me. If nothing in this world really satisfied, it's because God put eternity in my heart. I'm made for a different world. I'm fashioned for a whole different purpose, and life takes on satisfaction and meaning and purpose and joy when you come into that context. Jesus is my king. I'm dominated by him, I'm seeking first his kingdom. Let's bow our heads. Let's pray together.

Father, we have had the privilege of spending a few minutes just touching on, just considering a few of the aspects of what the Bible promises over and over again. A rule, a dominion, an earth free from the curse, free from the dominion of Satan's influence. Lord, what an amazing time that will be. But Lord, what an amazing time this can be where we, in our current state, in our station in life, the way we are can come into relationship with the living God by doing what you told us to do through the revelation of Scripture, to come by faith, to believe in Jesus, to entrust our life and our future to him.

When we do that, Lord, we find forgiveness-- forgiveness for our past, hope for our future, meaning in our present. Lord, as we close this service, we pray that you will welcome new ones in your kingdom who will make Jesus their King and look forward to the coming kingdom, on earth and then in heaven. Lord, I pray for those who have come who are struggling. Some feel unworthy, some feel unworthy to even be here. Lord, how you love each one. Nothing I could say could convince someone of that. I pray you will convince some of that, that you love with an everlasting love. You love so much that you were willing to send your own Son into this world to die on a cross, to shed his blood and to rise from the grave to justify people.

So Lord, with that huge embrace, I pray that you would bring more into your kingdom. With our heads bowed, I want to ask you a question. Do you know for certain if you were to die, that you would be in heaven afterwards? Are you certain that when you take your last breath on earth that you will have life in God's heaven in eternity? Are you certain of that? Because if you're thinking, wow, I sure hope so, or I suspect so, or maybe, or I don't know, you need to make sure. And the Bible says you can be sure. You can know that. It doesn't come by you making some wonderful resolve, it comes by you acknowledging there's nothing you can do in and of yourself.

But that you realized Jesus came from heaven to do it for you. He took your punishment on the cross. And you trust in him to do that. You come to him as your Savior, your Lord, the one who stood in the place for you. And it has to be personal. You can't rely upon what your parents decision was or the church you grew up in, or that you have fond thoughts about God from time to time. It has to be an acknowledgement that you need him, you recognize you're a sinner, you need to be forgiven by him. You're willing to leave that and turn to Jesus. If you're willing to do that this morning, for the first time, or maybe to come back to Him after going astray, if you are willing to come to Jesus and receive Him as Lord and Savior, I want you to raise your hand up in the air right now. Just so I can see your hand. I'll acknowledge it. I'll acknowledge it and I'll pray for you as we close the surface.

In raising your hand, you're saying, Skip, pray for me. I need to do this. I'm going to do this. I need Jesus as my Master, my Lord, my Savior. Just raise your hand up high so I can see it. God bless you, right up here toward the front. God bless you. Anybody else? Right up here, on my left. Couple of you. Anybody else? In the back, a couple of you. Bless you guys, awesome. To my right, toward the back. In the balcony. Again, in the back. Anyone else? Just raise that hand up, if you don't mind, please. God bless you.

Father, for all of those who have raised up those hands, those are individuals, those are lives. Those are precious ones. Your love is great toward them. I pray you convince them of that. Lord, this is a holy moment. Lord, I pray then you would do such a deep and lasting work in these lives, plant your seed of truth and life. May it germinate and grow and bring forth lots of fruit in the future. Strengthen each one and satisfy the parched souls. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Would you stand up, please? Stand to your feet. We're going to close in a song. Before we do, before we close, or as we close, those of you raised your hands, I want you know that Jesus called people publicly. And we call people publicly because we want to rejoice with you and encourage you and stand for you and with you. So if you raised your hand, I'm going to ask you now to get up from where you're standing and find the nearest aisle and walk right up here to the front. I'm going to lead you in a prayer right now to receive Christ as your Lord and Savior.

[APPLAUSE]

If you raised that hand in the front, if you're in the back, just come and stand right up here. It'll take just a moment. If you're on the balcony, come down those steps and make your way to the front.

[MUSIC - CITIZENS, "IN TENDERNESS"] Oh, the blood that bought me, oh, the grace that brought me to the fold of God. Grace that brought me to the fold of God.

That's right, don't wait around. Don't just stand there. Come up. We want to see. I'm sort of calling you out. I'm not doing that to embarrass you. But I'll tell you what. Something happens inside of a person when they say, I'm going to do this. I'm leaving the old, I'm coming right into where I need to be. That's right, that's right. Come on up. Anyone else? Even if you didn't raise your hand, just come on. Those claps are just to encourage you, that's all that is. Saying yes, you. You belong here. God bless you. Awesome. It's not to make a show out of it. God bless you guys. Love it, love it. Come on up. Awesome. Good seeing you guys. So good, so good.

Hey, I know you didn't expect to be here right now, those of you who are here. I guarantee you didn't come in here saying, I'm going to walk up front today. You didn't, but here you are. Because God called you, I believe God called you here. I want to lead every one of you who has walked forward in a prayer. I'm going to pray out loud, I'm going to ask you to pray this prayer out loud after me, but say it to the Lord himself. Let's pray. Say Lord, I give you my life.

Lord, I give you my life.

I know that I'm a sinner.

I know that I'm a sinner.

Please forgive me.

Please forgive me.

I believe in Jesus Christ.

I believe in Jesus Christ.

That he died on a cross,

That he died on a cross,

That he rose from the dead,

That he rose from the dead,

That he did it for me.

That he did it for me.

I turn from my past,

I turn from my past,

I turn from my sin.

I turn from my sin,

I turn to Jesus as my Savior.

I turn to Jesus as my Savior.

I want to follow him as my Lord.

I want to follow him as my Lord.

Help me.

Help me.

In his name I pray.

In his name I pray.

Amen.

Amen.

Welcome. Welcome to God's family.

As believers, we know with certainty that we will be with Jesus when he returns to reign on this earth. How will you tell others now about the salvation he offers? Let us know. Email mystory@calvaryabq.org. And just a reminder, you can give financially to this work at calvaryabq.org/giving. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Skip Heitzig of Calvary, Albuquerque.

Additional Messages in this Series

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Date Title   Watch Listen Notes Share Save Buy
1/10/2016
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What's Next?
Revelation 1
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
People have always been fascinated with the future and what's next. As we study prophecy, we can't help but wonder if current events play into an end-time scenario. The book of Revelation is John's written account of the spiritual revelation he received from God about the future return and reign of Christ. As Skip begins in Revelation 1, he encourages us to look at the future with faith and hope.
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1/17/2016
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Come Up Here
Revelation 1:19-20; Revelation 4:1-11
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
As believers, we look forward to the return of our Lord Jesus Christ and the blessed hope of eternity with Him. Unfortunately, some are put off by the idea of the rapture, because the date has been incorrectly predicted for so many years. In this message, we get a glimpse into the throne room of heaven as we anticipate the joy we'll have at the glorious appearing of Jesus Christ.
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1/24/2016
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What Is Heaven Like?
Revelation 5:1-14
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
There are many preconceived ideas about what heaven is like: we might picture ourselves sitting on a fluffy white cloud playing a harp, or we see ourselves sitting on a porch or playing a round of golf. Some even think heaven sounds boring. In this message, we examine what heaven will really look like for believers and what we can expect when we get there.
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2/7/2016
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Stampede
Revelation 6:1-8
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
The tribulation period will be a time of deception, war, famine, and death for the occupants of the world. The Antichrist will rise to power and masquerade as the Messiah, pretending to bring peace, but instead bringing war. In this message, we learn what will unfold when the first four seals are opened and their terrors are unleashed on the earth.
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2/14/2016
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The World's Greatest Revival
Revelation 7
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
During the earth’s greatest trial and tribulation will also come its greatest opportunity for salvation. Even after the church is raptured off the earth and ensconced in heaven, there will be gospel preaching during this time of global pain. This is the flicker of hope that will be offered to the world while God pours out His wrath on it. There are three unexpected discoveries we make about the upcoming tribulation period.
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2/28/2016
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What's Next? from Jerusalem
Matthew 24:1-8
Skip Heitzig
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One of God's greatest attributes is that He knows what is going to happen before it actually happens, and His Word clearly maps the events of the future. In this message from Jerusalem, we learn why this city is the center of the world, as well as what we can expect to take place when Jesus fulfills His promise to return for the church.
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3/6/2016
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Cosmic Conflict
Revelation 12:1-6
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
There has been an invisible war between satanic forces and God’s purpose and people since time began. To fail to understand this conflict is to fail to understand both history and prophecy. Without the lens provided by Revelation 12, our vision of everything is obscured. We will never fully grasp the plan of God through the ages, the cross of Christ, the tribulation, and the future reign of Christ unless we can comprehend the cosmic conflict that is displayed in this chapter.
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3/13/2016
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Satan's Global Conflict
Revelation 12:7-17
Skip Heitzig
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"War in Heaven Brings Wrath on Earth!" That could be the headline of Revelation 12. The ongoing battle of the ages that began in heaven and has played out on earth will reach fever pitch in the coming years. If you're asking What's Next?, the answer in part lies here. The cosmic battle becomes a global battle that will be filled with both woe and worship, both fury and freedom. Let's get more insight into the motivations and actions of the archenemy of God's people.
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4/3/2016
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The Most Interesting Man in the World
Revelation 13:1-10
Skip Heitzig
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Unlike the fictional beer commercials, the most interesting man in the world is coming. Dynamic, persuasive, and a breath of fresh air, this leader’s diplomatic skills will be off the charts. On one hand, he will be everything the world has been waiting for; on the other hand, he will be its biggest nightmare. Since the number six is often the designated number of man in Scripture, let’s examine six characteristics of this most interesting coming ruler.
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4/10/2016
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The Coming Deception
Revelation 13:11-18
Skip Heitzig
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We know for sure that a ruler who will have international authority is coming to the earth. We also know that he will not be alone. There will come a religious deceiver who will aid and abet this global leader. Today, we consider the end-time teaching of the world’s fastest-growing religion to see if there is an interface with the Bible’s predictions about what’s next.
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4/17/2016
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The Return
Revelation 19:11-21
Skip Heitzig
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We now come to the culmination of all redemptive history—the second coming of Jesus Christ. After history runs its sinister course, after the final period of man’s rebellion, Satan’s retaliation, and God’s judgment, the end of the world will come. But the end of this world will actually be the beginning of a new one. The event that hinges these together is the future coming of Christ to the earth. Let’s consider five aspects of His return, spoken of here and throughout Scripture.
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5/22/2016
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What's Next...for Everyone!
Revelation 20:4-7; Revelation 20:11-15
Skip Heitzig
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My mom used to wake me up early every morning with her sweet voice saying, "Rise and shine!" It took a few times, but I eventually got up out of bed. Jesus too will call everyone who has died to "Rise up!" But not everyone will rise up to shine; some will rise up to suffer. Let's consider three inevitable and unalterable truths about the future for all of us: We will all live, we will all die, and we will all rise again to live forever.... But where and how?
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6/5/2016
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Surprising Facts about Your Eternal Home
Revelation 21-22
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
Through the years, I have observed that most people (even Christians) have ideas about what heaven will be like that are vastly different from how Scripture describes heaven. In this series, we have followed the chronological flow of the book of Revelation from the rapture through the tribulation, from the second coming to the millennial kingdom. We turn now to what the Bible describes as the final phase of heaven—the eternal state. Here are a few things that might further surprise you about your future home:
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There are 13 additional messages in this series.