Why Will Jesus Christ Return?: Part 2

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Why Will Jesus Christ Return?

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Most of the Christian world believes Jesus is returning to the earth, but so many don’t understand the purpose in this. In part 1 of this article in our previous issue, we laid out six reasons Jesus Christ must return to the earth. We encourage you to read part 1 before proceeding into part 2, where we lay out six more reasons for a total of 12.

By way of review, the first six reasons were: 1) to fulfill prophecy and promises; 2) to save mankind from total destruction; 3) to resurrect and transform His followers to immortality; 4) to appear in glory for vindication and honor; 5) to reign as King over all nations; and 6) to deliver and elevate Israel.

Yet these are not the only things Jesus is coming back to do. As revealed throughout Scripture, He has much more to accomplish. We list six more here, but this is still a broad summary of the vast agenda for the world to come. No doubt many more aspects could be highlighted.

Continuing on then from what we’ve already seen, what else is Jesus coming to do? Again, why will He return to the earth? 

7. To establish His throne in Jerusalem

Concerning the nation of Israel at His coming, the last point we mentioned, the Lord further declared: “I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary [or holy place] in their midst forevermore. My tabernacle [or dwelling place] also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people. The nations also will know that I, the Lord, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore” (Ezekiel 37:26-28 Ezekiel 37:26-28 [26] Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the middle of them for ever more. [27] My tabernacle also shall be with them: yes, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. [28] And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the middle of them for ever more.
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).

The final chapters of Ezekiel, starting in chapter 40, show that a rebuilt physical temple at Jerusalem will be functioning during the Millennium. Some dismiss this as mere spiritual symbolism, but the level of detailed description found in these chapters makes that idea untenable. The temple system always contained symbolic aspects, but it was nevertheless literal, as the new one will be.

The physical temple is regarded as the place of God’s throne on earth—the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant between the cherubim modeled on God’s throne in heaven. So Jerusalem will be the capital of the world: “At that time Jerusalem shall be called The Throne of the Lord, and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem. No more shall they follow the dictates of their evil hearts” (Jeremiah 3:17 Jeremiah 3:17At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.
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, emphasis added throughout). From here Christ will rule: “For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2:3 Isaiah 2:3And many people shall go and say, Come you, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
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).

8. To judge the world, rewarding the faithful and removing evil

The world today is filled with corruption and injustice. The righteous suffer wrongly while the wicked often prosper. Will a just and good God allow this to go on without end in parallel to merely continuing to take decent people away to an afterlife in heaven? As Abraham asked, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25 Genesis 18:25That be far from you to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from you: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
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).

Consider that ongoing evil in the world is used as an argument against the existence of God. For those of us who understand that Jesus came to die for our sins, are we to imagine that God will tolerate sin and its consequences forever and ever and ever? Will death and misery and pain never cease? No! It is allowed for a time for the building of faith and character. But there must eventually be a conclusion—and there will be!

At Jesus’ return He will bring justice to the world—to set all things right. He will reward the righteous and punish the unrepentant, working toward ultimately ridding the world of all sin.

We earlier saw in Jude 14-15 and Psalms 96:13 Psalms 96:13Before the LORD: for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.
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that the Lord is coming to execute judgment on the world. This refers to Christ, for He said “the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22 John 5:22For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son:
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God through Christ “‘will render to each one according to his deeds’; eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth . . . indignation and wrath” (Romans 2:6-8 Romans 2:6-8 [6] Who will render to every man according to his deeds: [7] To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life: [8] But to them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
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).

Jesus showed in parable that at His return He will reward His servants, giving them different levels of authority in His Kingdom according to how they have used their spiritual gifts in His service, growing in His character—with those who fail to do as commanded losing their reward (see Luke 19:11-26 Luke 19:11-26 [11] And as they heard these things, he added and spoke a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear. [12] He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. [13] And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said to them, Occupy till I come. [14] But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us. [15] And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called to him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. [16] Then came the first, saying, Lord, your pound has gained ten pounds. [17] And he said to him, Well, you good servant: because you have been faithful in a very little, have you authority over ten cities. [18] And the second came, saying, Lord, your pound has gained five pounds. [19] And he said likewise to him, Be you also over five cities. [20] And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is your pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin: [21] For I feared you, because you are an austere man: you take up that you layed not down, and reap that you did not sow. [22] And he said to him, Out of your own mouth will I judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: [23] Why then gave not you my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required my own with usury? [24] And he said to them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that has ten pounds. [25] (And they said to him, Lord, he has ten pounds.) [26] For I say to you, That to every one which has shall be given; and from him that has not, even that he has shall be taken away from him.
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). And His enemies who ultimately refuse to be ruled by Him will be destroyed (verse 27).

Jesus will triumph over enemies at His coming. The nations of the world, under the sway of Satan the devil (1 John 5:19 1 John 5:19And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in wickedness.
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), will be angry at Christ’s return and, resisting Him, will face His judgment (Revelation 11:18 Revelation 11:18And the nations were angry, and your wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that you should give reward to your servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear your name, small and great; and should destroy them which destroy the earth.
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; Joel 3:2 Joel 3:2I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.
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). An alliance of rulers “will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them” (Revelation 17:12-14 Revelation 17:12-14 [12] And the ten horns which you saw are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. [13] These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength to the beast. [14] These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
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). Paul writes of a human leader of the lawless system that will then dominate the world, “whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming” (2 Thessalonians 2:8 2 Thessalonians 2:8And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
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).

Then Satan himself, along with his demons, will be seized and banished from the world to an abyss or bottomless pit for the 1,000 years of Christ’s rule—cutting off his deception of the nations and his spiritual influencing of people’s minds to wrong attitudes and disobedience (Revelation 20:1-3 Revelation 20:1-3 [1] And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. [2] And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, [3] And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
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; see Ephesians 2:1-3 Ephesians 2:1-3 [1] And you has he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; [2] Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience: [3] Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
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). He will be briefly released at the end when he will go out to deceive the nations again—but he will then be cast into a lake of fire and be finally gone for good (Revelation 20:3 Revelation 20:3And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
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, 7-10). Later, unrepentant human beings will also be cast into the lake of fire and destroyed, with death and the grave, the final enemies, gone forever (verses 14-15; 21:8; 1 Corinthians 15:25-26 1 Corinthians 15:25-26 [25] For he must reign, till he has put all enemies under his feet. [26] The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
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).

The removal of Satan and evil will allow all people to learn righteousness and live in harmony with God and one another. Jesus will finally receive the full praise and honor due Him. Those who follow Him will share in His glory. And Satan and those who refuse to repent will get the humiliation and dishonor they deserve.

This will commence when Christ returns in judgment to set everything right and bring healing to our broken, upside-down world!

9. To teach the world His ways and bring world peace

When Jesus rules the world from Jerusalem, “many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For [as we read earlier] out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2:1-3 Isaiah 2:1-3 [1] The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. [2] And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. [3] And many people shall go and say, Come you, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
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). Instead of war, the world will be taught the way to peace (verse 4).

Yes, as part of Jesus setting everything right, the age-old dream of world peace will finally be a reality. Man’s attempts to bring it about have failed. We must come to acknowledge: “Lord, You will establish peace for us, for You have also done all our works in us” (Isaiah 26:12 Isaiah 26:12LORD, you will ordain peace for us: for you also have worked all our works in us.
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)—as Christ will work in and through people to bring this about, God’s Spirit then being poured out on all humanity (Joel 2:28 Joel 2:28And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
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).

Jesus and His resurrected followers, as a royal priesthood, will be the world’s teachers, calling out to people, “This is the way, walk in it” (Isaiah 30:20-21 Isaiah 30:20-21 [20] And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not your teachers be removed into a corner any more, but your eyes shall see your teachers: [21] And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way, walk you in it, when you turn to the right hand, and when you turn to the left.
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). Soon “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9 Isaiah 11:9They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
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).

10. To bring restoration to all creation

With the transformation Jesus will bring, even the animals will be at peace: “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them . . . They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain” (verses 6-9). This mountain refers to God’s ruling Kingdom, which will expand and encompass the whole earth (compare Daniel 2:35 Daniel 2:35Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.
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, 44).

The war-torn and devastated world, starting at Jerusalem, will be restored to a paradise resembling that of the Garden of Eden. “For the Lord will comfort Zion, He will comfort all her waste places; He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord” (Isaiah 51:3 Isaiah 51:3For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.
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). “So they will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden; and the wasted, desolate, and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited’” (Ezekiel 36:35 Ezekiel 36:35And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited.
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).

At that time, both the natural realm and mankind will experience amazing healing: “The desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose . . .” (Isaiah 35:1 Isaiah 35:1The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.
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). “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert, the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water” (verses 5-7).

This rejuvenating water is literal but also symbolic of the Holy Spirit and all God’s blessings. As God says: “For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground; I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, and my blessing on your offspring” (Isaiah 44:3 Isaiah 44:3For I will pour water on him that is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground: I will pour my spirit on your seed, and my blessing on your offspring:
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An abundance of trees along the banks of a river that flows from God’s new temple in Jerusalem will be for food and healing (Ezekiel 47:1-12 Ezekiel 47:1-12 [1] Afterward he brought me again to the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar. [2] Then brought he me out of the way of the gate northward, and led me about the way without to the utter gate by the way that looks eastward; and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side. [3] And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ankles. [4] Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins. [5] Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over. [6] And he said to me, Son of man, have you seen this? Then he brought me, and caused me to return to the brink of the river. [7] Now when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other. [8] Then said he to me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed. [9] And it shall come to pass, that every thing that lives, which moves, wherever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live where the river comes. [10] And it shall come to pass, that the fishers shall stand on it from Engedi even to Eneglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many. [11] But the miry places thereof and the marshes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to salt. [12] And by the river on the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.
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)—this picture also being both literal and symbolic. Because of sin, mankind was cut off from the Garden of Eden and access to the tree of life there. But that access will ultimately be restored (see Revelation 22:1-3 Revelation 22:1-3 [1] And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. [2] In the middle of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bore twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. [3] And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:
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, 14).

When Jesus returns from heaven, He will bring “the times of restoration of all things” proclaimed by all God’s prophets (Acts 3:21 Acts 3:21Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
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). And the whole creation will be freed from its bondage to decay (see Romans 8:18-23 Romans 8:18-23 [18] For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. [19] For the earnest expectation of the creature waits for the manifestation of the sons of God. [20] For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who has subjected the same in hope, [21] Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. [22] For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now. [23] And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
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).

11. To offer salvation to everyone

We earlier saw God’s intention to save all Israel (Romans 11:26 Romans 11:26And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
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; compare Isaiah 45:17 Isaiah 45:17But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: you shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.
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). And He intends the same for all mankind, as expressed in the inspired prayer of Psalms 67:2 Psalms 67:2That your way may be known on earth, your saving health among all nations.
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: “That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among the nations.” It was foretold of Jesus as Messiah that besides raising up and restoring Israel, He would bring salvation to the whole world: “I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6 Isaiah 49:6And he said, It is a light thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give you for a light to the Gentiles, that you may be my salvation to the end of the earth.
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).

The whole world will be offered salvation when Jesus reigns in power and glory over the nations. Yet we might wonder: What about all those who died in past ages without the opportunity for Christ’s salvation? For instance, we read in Zechariah 12:10 Zechariah 12:10And I will pour on the house of David, and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look on me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
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that those who pierced Christ will be remorseful and repentant. In one sense this refers to the Jewish nation of the end time, and even to all people, as we all bear responsibility in Christ’s death. But what of those who actually took part in Jesus’ day? Are they forever lost even if they did not understand or come to see what they were part of? (compare Luke 23:34 Luke 23:34Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
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).

The reality is that these people too will have the opportunity for salvation extended to them.

Jesus will raise His followers from death immediately at His return, “but the rest of the dead,” we are told in Revelation 20:5 Revelation 20:5But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
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, will not live again “until the thousand years were finished.” So they will be raised up too. Many think this is to immediately condemn them again. But that is assuredly not the case. A judgment period will follow (verses 11-12)—a period of evaluation with the Book of Life opened, representing an open opportunity.

Thus Jesus is returning not just to offer salvation to all those alive at His return and the generations that follow, but to offer salvation to all who have ever lived who never had sufficient understanding or opportunity. (To learn more about this amazing truth, read “The Eighth Day: Eternal Life Offered to All” in our free study guide God’s Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind.)

12. To usher in a new heaven and new earth

Finally, after the Millennium and last judgment period and the removal of all those who ultimately refuse to repent and obey God, those who remain will experience an extraordinary change in the whole of creation, as earth and sky are changed from subjection to physical decay to an eternal state (Revelation 21:1 Revelation 21:1And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
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). We won’t then go away to a different earth. Rather, God will make the earth we dwell on and all things new (verse 5). Then the New Jerusalem, a city of vast dimensions, will descend to the earth with God the Father.

It is ironic that many read the descriptions of this city in the vision of Revelation 21-22 as detailing life in heaven, when the reality is that this city will come down to the renewed earth as the permanent dwelling of the Father and Christ and all the saved of mankind. Heaven will thus come to earth! The tree of life will then be here for the nations (Revelation 22:1-2 Revelation 22:1-2 [1] And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. [2] In the middle of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bore twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
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, 14). “And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him” (verse 3). There is no temple seen in the vision “for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple” (Revelation 21:22 Revelation 21:22And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.
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), shining in it as light brighter than the sun (verse 23).

What this means is that not only does Christ have much work to do here on earth for which He must come back, as we have seen, but His work here will never end! He will reign here with the Father and all His followers in awesome joyous existence through eternity to come, world without end.

Yes, the hope of Christ’s return is certain. The Bible ends in affirmation of this abiding promise and a prayer for its swift fulfillment we should all join in with. Revelation 22:20 Revelation 22:20He which testifies these things said, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
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concludes, “He [Jesus Christ] who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”