What happens after the return of Yeshua to this earth — after he has put down all of his enemies in battle (Zech 14:1–3; Rev 17:14; 19:11–21)? This we know. He shall set his feet on the Mount of Olives (Zech 14:4) even as he ascended from the same place (Acts 1:9–12), and YHVH-Yeshua shall become king over the earth (Zech 14:9). He shall be King of kings (Rev 17:14; 19:16) and rule with a rod of iron over the whole earth (Rev 12:5; 19:15) for one thousand years (Rev 20:2, 3, 4, 6, 7). This is commonly referred to as the Millennium. This is the earth that Yeshua declared that the meek would inherit (Matt 5:5).
A Quick Overview of the Millennium
What will the 1000 year-long Millennium be like? The Scriptures give us some insights into life on earth during this time.
- Elohim will live with his people. (Ezek 37:26–28)
- David will rule as King over Israel (Ezek 37:24–25)
- YHVH’s annual feast will be kept by all people (Ezek 46:3–6; cf. Col 2,16–17)
- YHVH’s government will be established on Mount Zion in Jerusalem: Torah will go forth from Mount Zion and the nations will go up to Mount Zion to worship YHVH in the house (temple) of YHVH (Mic 4:1–2)
- A Highway of YHVH, or a highway of holiness will lead to Zion. (Isa 35:8–10)
- Whether literal or spiritual, living waters will flow from Jerusalem and Yeshua’s throne. Water was flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (Ezek 47:1; Zech 14:8)
- On the bank of the river there were very many trees on each side (Ezek 47:6–9)
- People will live to a very old age. (Isa 65:20)
- Crowds of people will flock to Jerusalem. (Zech 2:1–4; Isa 49:14)
- The temple in Jerusalem will be rebuilt. (Zech 6:15; 14:20–21; Hag 2:6–9)
- The Messiah will be king over the whole world. (Zech 6:9–13; Isa 11:1–5; Rev 20:6; 5:9–10)
- The nations which do not want to serve and obey YHVH will be destroyed. (Isa 60:12; Zech 14:16–19; Isa 9:5–7)
What Happens After the Millennium?
After the thousand years is completed, Satan the devil who has been bound in the bottomless pit (Rev 20:1–3) will be released briefly to test those on earth as to their faithfulness to King Yeshua (verses 7–8). The devil will then be cast into the lake of fire forever (verse 10).
Next is the final judgment day — commonly called the great white throne judgment. At that time, all the dead, and any others who have died in Yeshua and have yet to receive their reward of eternal life, will be raised from the dead to stand before the Almighty. Those whose names are not written in the Book of Life will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev 20:11–15).
As discussed earlier, I believe that the New Jerusalem will come into view at Yeshua’s return where it will be hovering over the earth during the wrath of Elohim period and during the 1000 year-long Millennium. However, the Scriptures speak of a new heavens and new earth (Isa 65:17; 66:22; 2 Pet 3:13; Rev 21:1).
Before this happens, something very dramatic must first happen.
Heavens to Pass Away, New Heavens and Earth
A number of Scriptures in both the Tanakh and the Testimony of Yeshua speak of something happening that is so hard to imagine that many biblical students simply allegorize these Bible passages at this point and interpret them figuratively. What are referring to?
Several places in the Scriptures speak of the a great fire that will literally melt the earth and the heavens. They will dissolve, and like the myth of the phoenix bird, it will die, and a new earth and new heavens will arise in their places. Here are the scriptures that predict this event.
Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish [or vanish, be destroyed], but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change [or pass on, pass away, come on anew] them, and they shall be changed… (Ps 102:25–26)
Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish [or tear away, to be washed in salt] away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner [i.e. the wicked shall be burned up]: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished [i.e. the righteous shall have eternal life]. (Isa 51:6)
For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith YHVH of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith YHVH of hosts. (Mal 4:1–3)
And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: they shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed [or transformed]: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. (Heb 1:10–12)
But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition [utter destruction] of ungodly men.…Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? (2 Pet 3:7, 12)
And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. (Rev 20:11)
And 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. (Rev 21:1)
What are we to make of these passages? My approach to understanding the writings of the Bible is simply this: I take what the Bible says to be literal, unless there are solid hermeneutical grounds to view a passage allegorically. With regard to the dissolving of the earth and heavens with fire, I find no reason, at this point, to disbelieve the literalness of the Written Word of Elohim. To believe this, makes the most sense logically to me without having to resort to clever reasonings to explain away the obvious. Let me briefly explain.
The final judgment day of YHVH at the end of the thousand year Millennium is described in Revelation 20:11–13. After this is the lake of fire (verse 15). What comes next? Revelation 21 and 22 give us the most detailed description of the New Jerusalem in the entire Bible. This glorious city, like a sparkling diamond, sits in the bezel of the new heavens and the new earth (Rev 21:1). But what happened to the old earth and old heavens? They passed away (Rev 20:11; 21:1). What happened to them? The Book of Revelation doesn’t tells us — not directly, at least. But just before the new heavens and new earth arrive on the scene, we have the lake of fire (Rev 20:15). Is the lake of fire somehow related to the fires that will melt the heavens and earth as described in our passages listed above? Will the fires that destroy the wicked, also destroy the physical earth and heavens? It appears that when this cleansing fire occurs, all will be cleansed and burned up except that which is spiritual or eternal in nature. The resurrected saints of Yeshua will not be burned up, since they will have already received their glorified, spirit bodies at their resurrection. After the thousand year Millennium is over, YHVH will burn up or cleanse the old earth and heavens and will recreate them into a heaven-on-earth paradise free of any taint of sin, death or the devil. All will be fresh and new and perfect — a pristine environment for YHVH Elohim to cohabit and commune with his spiritual children for eternity! Until I am given further understanding on this matter, this is what I believe will happen.
The Fall Feasts in the Book of Revelation
Earlier on in this book, we discussed the biblical feasts being similar to a template or set of blue prints to help us understand end-times biblical prophecy. As already discussed, the spring feasts (Passover/Pesach, the Feast of Unleavened Bread/Hag HaMatzot and the Feast of Weeks/Pentecost/Shavuot) relate to events that happened relevant to Yeshua’s first coming. The fall feasts (the Day of Shofar Blowing/Yom Teruah/Rosh Hashanah, the Day of Atonement/Yom Kippur, the Feast of Tabernacles/Sukkot and the Eighth Day/Shemini Atzeret relate to events relevant to Yeshua’s second coming and the establishment of his millennial kingdom on earth and on into eternity (olam habah).
Each of the seven feasts mark events that have happened in Israel’s past, or will happen in Israel’s future. They are not only chronological steps in YHVH’s plan of redemption or salvation for his people, but on these exact days, significant events happened (or will happen) relevant to the people of YHVH.
The events surrounding the spring feasts have largely already been fulfilled when Yeshua came the first time. For example, as the ancient Israelites sacrificed the first Passover lamb in Egypt on Passover, so Yeshua, the Lamb of Elohim died on the cross on Passover. As YHVH gave the Israelites his Torah on Mount Sinai, so YHVH wrote the Torah on the hearts of his people by his Spirit on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2.
Understanding the events that will happen on the actual fall feasts will help us in turn to understand end-times prophecy. The events that these days point to have not occurred yet, since they relate to the second coming, which, obviously, hasn’t happened yet! For example, at this point in my understanding, it is my conviction that the time period between Shavuot (in the late spring) and Yom Teruah (in the early fall) is prophetically significant, as is the actual day of Yom Teruah itself, which seems to the day on which the resurrection of the saints occurs. Likewise, Yom Kippur seems to be the day most likely when Yeshua will actually return to this earth (i.e. set his feet on earth). At the same time, Sukkot is a clear picture of the Millennium, and Shemini Atzeret pictures eternity when the resurrected and glorified saints will forever inhabit the New Jerusalem on the New Earth and surrounded by the New Heavens.
Now, let’s quickly review YHVH’s fall feasts again, but this time see if we can identify the significant events in the Book of Revelation that will be occurring on or around the four feasts.
Shavuot through Yom Teruah—This seems to be the “times of the Gentiles” Yeshua spoke of in Luke 21:24 (Luke’s record of the Olivet Prophecy), and is likely the time period of Matthew 24:4–28, which is the time of the general tribulation, which started with the death of Stephen in the first century and continues into the time of the great tribulation. As far as we know, the great tribulation hasn’t started yet. The time of the Gentiles has been going on for nearly 2000 years, and is prophetically symbolized by the four month period of time between Shavuot and Yom Teruah, which spiritually and prophetically represents the time between the first and second advents of Yeshua.
In Matthew 24:29, Yeshua speaks of a time period that occurs “after the tribulation of those days.” Immediately after this verse, Yeshua begins to describe a regathering of saints in the end times, which, as we have seen above corresponds with the Revelation 7 account of the 144 thousand and the great multitude that comes out of “great tribulation.”
The time of the Gentiles directly precedes and ceases at the appearing of Yeshua in the heavens (i.e. earth’s atmosphere, Matt 24:29; Luke 21:25). At that time, Yeshua tells the saints living on earth to look up, for their redemption is drawing near (Luke 21:28). Their redemption — in this case, would not be referring to their initial salvation (the redemption of one’s soul), but to the resurrection or redemption of one’s physical bodies — a glorious event which is near, but hasn’t occurred yet, for the resurrection of the dead doesn’t occur until the last trumpet on Yom Teruah. As I have noted above, I believe that Yeshua will remain in the atmosphere revealing himself to mankind and giving man one last chance to repent before pouring out the trumpet plagues (the first half of the wrath of Elohim) on those who refuse to repent and turn to him. This all occurs before the resurrection of the righteous dead, which will occur later at the last or seventh or last trumpet (Rev 11:15–18).
If my analysis is correct, after this end-times regathering (which occurs after great tribulation), the sealed righteous will likely go into a place of safety in the wilderness—perhaps for three-and-one-half years (see Rev 12:14 cp. Ezek 20:25 and Hos 2:14). There, Yeshua will refine his people in the wilderness during the first half of the end-times wrath of Elohim period, and he will separate the wise form the foolish virgins (Matt 25), and those who love and submit to his Torah from those who won’t (Ezek 20:35–38). There Yeshua will refine and prepare his bride for the resurrection and the great reunion in the sky.
Yom Teruah— This occurs at the seventh trumpet (Rev 11:15–19). At this time, rewards are given to the saints (i.e. they receive their immortal bodies, verse 18), which occurs at the resurrection of the dead (as also described in 1 Thess 4 and 1 Cor 15:51–53). In Matthew 25:14–30, Yeshua speaks of giving rewards to his servants. This is similar language to that found in Revelation 11:18, where the angel announces rewards for the servants of Yeshua. At the same time, the angel announces the final judgments of YHVH’s wrath upon the wicked rebels who destroy the earth, which is the second half or the “completion” or the “filling up” of the wrath of Elohim (Rev 15:1).
Yom Kippur/the Day of Atonement— In Matthew 25:31, Yeshua speaks of coming in his glory with his angels to judge the nations. When does this occur? This may be speaking of his actual return to the earth (i.e. his setting his feet on earth) when he will judge the nations (Rev 19). At that time, he will destroy all the kings and leaders of the world who oppose him including Babylon the Great. All of Yeshua’s enemies are now defeated, and it is time for him to set up his kingdom on earth for 1000 years (Rev 20:2,3,4,6,7 cp. 2 Pet 3:8).
Sukkot/the Feast of Tabernacles — After Yeshua has put down his enemies, he will establish his rule on earth for 1000 years, which is called the Millennium (Rev 20:1–10). This is when the marriage and the wedding supper of the Lamb occurs (Rev 19:7–9).
Shemini Atzeret/The Eighth Day — After the Millennium, the wicked will be thrown into the lake of fire (Rev 20:11–15), the old earth and heavens will be burned with fire and the New Jerusalem will take its place in the new heavens and new earth. This will be literally heaven on earth for redeemed Israelite believers who will live in the Presence of YHVH Elohim and the Lamb for eternity.
Some Final Thoughts on the New Heavens and New Earth
Some earnest Bible students may look at the new heavens and new earth passages of Isaiah 65:17–25 and 66:5–24 and find them to be saying that the Millennium and the new heavens and new earth occur simultaneously. That is to say, as the millennial age is ushered in, the new heavens and new earth at the same time arrive on the scene, since Isaiah seems to be saying that they all occur at the same time. This is an important issue to resolve, and how can we say that the new heavens and new earth come after the Millennium when Isaiah seems to be saying that they all occur at the same time?
This issue can be resolved by viewing Isaiah chapters 65 and 66 in two ways. First, it’s an overview of the millennial age going into eternity. Overviews are just that — they skim the top of the waves without going into point-point-details and giving an exact chronological order. The Scriptures are full of such overviews. For example, Hebrews 9:19–22 is a quick overview of the levitical sacrificial system, although it is technically incorrect in some of its details. In other words, the overview is accurate, while the technical details are inaccurate. (For this reason, and because they don’t understand this principle, some unlearned and unstable biblical teachers have advocated the casting of the Epistle to the Hebrews from the canon of Scripture.) Doubtless, other examples could be given where Scripture uses the overview approach to quickly teach some basic truths, and to cover a lot of ground quickly!
The second way of resolving the technical difficulties presented in the last two chapters of the Book of Isaiah is to view the coming of the new heavens and new earth in a progressive sense. Before they can come, YHVH has to prepare the way for them. This is done by preparing a people to inhabit these new spiritual realms. This will happen during the Millennium. Without people to inhabit the new heavens and new earth, what is the point of them? Isaiah chapters 65 and 66 describe the preparation for and transition process into the new heavens and new earth that will occur for a thousand years prior to their actually arrival. And so, these chapters are an overview describing this process.
With these things in mind, I see no reason to doubt that the new heavens and new earth will follow the Millennium, even as the chronology of the Book of Revelation clearly indicates.