The Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that all except their religion will be destroyed at “Armageddon” and there will be a “Paradise Earth”.  They believe that only 144,000 will go to heaven and the remaining 8.2 million will live forever on earth. They also believe the previously dead of their religion will be resurrected just after “Armageddon”.  The “2nd death” is ceasing to exist. Rev 7:9-17 details the Great Tribulation survivors and Rev 19:1 confirms it is a great crowd in heaven and the bottom line is they inherit eternal life. Rev 20:8-9, along with 2 Peter 3:10 and Rev 21:1-4 would indicate Paradise Earth is not possible until the end of the 1000 year period.

Biblical Unitarians (; Christian Churches of God is not covered because of the complexity of its teachings)  believe the chosen will be part of a pre-Tribulation rapture and those that survive the Great Tribulation will be risen to heaven just before Jesus’ 2nd coming. The remainder that survive “Armageddon” will live on a “Paradise Earth” but eternal life does not occur until AFTER the final judgment. Pre Trib rapture is even a bone of contention among some mainstream religions. They believe that the 2nd death is ceasing to exist.

As we will read, Rev 21:1-4 states the Holy City comes down to the new heaven and earth and, in Rev 20:8-9 (which occurs after the 1000 years between the beginning of Judgment Day and the time Satan is released), those outside God’s camp are consumed by fire.  This would indicate “paradise earth” is possible only for those that pass the final white throne judgment in addition to those in the Holy City at the beginning.

7th Day Adventists believe as so “The millennium is the thousand-year reign of Christ with His saints in heaven between the first and second resurrections. During this time the wicked dead will be judged; the earth will be utterly desolate, without living human inhabitants, but occupied by Satan and his angels. At its close, Christ with His saints and the Holy City will descend from heaven to earth. The unrighteous dead will then be resurrected, and with Satan and his angels will surround the city; but fire from God will consume them and cleanse the earth. The universe will thus be freed of sin and sinners forever. (Rev. 20; 1 Cor. 6:2, 3; Jer. 4:23-26; Rev. 21:1-5; Mal. 4:1; Eze. 28:18, 19.)” (source: 7th Day Adventist website). This would indicate that the 2nd death is cessation to exist.

There are some religious groups that believe the 2nd resurrection occurs in a similar manner as what the 7th Day Adventists teach, except that group suffers eternal torment in the lake of fire.

Armstrongism (United Church of God,  Restored Church of God  believe in a 2nd resurrection that occurs after the Wrath of God for people to redeem themselves during the 1000 years (a time of peace and prosperity) and a third resurrection of the wicked (quite possibly Rev 20:13). They also believe the 2nd death is ceasing to exist.

Hard core Catholics believe that the dead either go straight to hell, straight to heaven or “purgatory” (a middle ground for those not bad enough for hell nor good enough for heaven). Upon reading some Catholic websites, “Purgatory” is, in fact, Hades and “hell” is Gehenna (or the lake of fire).  Luke 16:19-31 is the story of the rich man who died and described a burning in Hades.

Most mainstream believe that those not the chosen ones will stand in front of the throne as outlined in Rev 20:12-15.  Each person will be reviewed and either sent to the lake of fire or heaven.

A number of these theories can be disputed by the following:  Rev 20:4-6 defines the first resurrection and that the remaining dead will be resurrected 1000 years later.  Rev 20:7-10 occurs 1000 years after Satan is imprisoned in the Abyss.  The angels are imprisoned in the “chains of darkness” (2 Peter 2:1-4). The Holy City does descend after 1000 years.  The possibility of those with the mark of the beast being tormented (Rev 14:10-11) during the 1000 year period is more likely.

So let’s start at the basic verse (the first resurrection):

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17King James Version (KJV)

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

The dead in Christ include:

The 144,000:

Revelation 7:2-4King James Version (KJV)

And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. 

If one reads Rev 14, the 144,000 are without fault and blameless.  The fall of Babylon occurs after the 144K in Verse 8. Also, those who worship the beast and have the mark of the beast on the hand and forehead are basically sent to the lake of fire.

Revelation 14:8-11King James Version (KJV)

And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: 11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

Those beheaded in the name of Jesus:

Revelation 20:4-5King James Version (KJV)

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

Revelation 19King James Version (KJV)

19 And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. And again they said, Alleluia And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.

The above shows the survivors of the Great Tribulation and the fall of Babylon (Rev 7:9-17 and Rev 14:8).

Given the Holy City is still in heaven, they rule from heaven.

So what is the mark of the beast? It may surprise you.

The survivors of the Great Tribulation are the “alive in Christ”

Revelation 7:14King James Version (KJV)

14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

The signs of the Great Tribulation and 2nd coming:

Matthew 24:21-22King James Version (KJV)

21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

Matthew 24:29-30King James Version (KJV)

29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

I think most Christians can agree the first resurrection is the chosen ones or “anointed class.”

Revelation 20:6King James Version (KJV)

Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

Some believe that those consumed by fire in Rev 20:8-9 are the descendents of those that survived the Wrath of God in 2 Peter 3:7.

Revelation 20:7-10 King James Version (KJV)

And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. 10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

Related to the above:

Revelation 19:19-21King James Version (KJV)

19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. 20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.

Here is the final resurrection:

Revelation 20:12-15King James Version (KJV)

12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. 

So if the earth is cleansed of sin in Rev 20:8-9, who is resurrected in verse 13 to stand in front of the throne? Let’s assume that Rev 20 occurs in a chronological manner. Rev 20:12 says the dead, small and great stand before God.  If all in the 2nd resurrection are consumed by fire in Rev 20:8-9 as some teach, who is left in verse 12?  Also, does that mean the “sea” and “Hades” are empty in verse 13? This and other details will be covered in “The 1000 Year Period.”

Daniel 7:10King James Version (KJV)

10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.

Would this indicate that only 100 million will appear in front of God’s throne? If somebody rejected God before Judgment Day, they would be sent straight to the lake of fire on the 2nd resurrection.  I would think that Rev 14:10-11 would eliminate those who have the mark of the beast.  Then finally those physically consumed by fire in Rev 20:8-9. Would the “thousand thousands” be  those in 1 Thess 14:16-17?

So does that mean some that stand in front of the throne will be saved?

Romans 2:14-16King James Version (KJV)

14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) 16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

Revelation 21:27New International Version (NIV)

27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life (the Holy City is described in verses 1-4; It comes down out of heaven.Lastly, the time line of 2 Peter 3:7-13

2 Peter 3:7-13New International Version (NIV) –

By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.[a] 11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.[b] That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.

Revelation 5:9-10King James Version (KJV)

And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;

10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

The above would indicate that those in the first resurrection would rule on the earth AFTER the final judgment.

Here is the scenario:

Biblically we know that the Wrath of God happens at the 2nd coming of Jesus, governments are destroyed as are earthly organizations (including Babylon and the false prophets) and the wicked (including those that have the mark of the beast).  That is something that probably just about all Christian professing religions can agree on.  There is no evil during the 1000 years and that is another thing agreed on.  I think most of Christianity believes that the earth at the 2nd coming will be a wasteland.

At that point, those that died both before God’s Wrath and during would know nothing.

Ecclesiastes 9:5New International Version (NIV)

For the living know that they will die,
    but the dead know nothing;
they have no further reward,
    and even their name is forgotten.

What about those that MAY survive God’s Wrath?  What if  the earth left was not, in fact a paradise?  What if some thought they were part of the chosen ones but here they are?  So who would be those consumed by fire in Rev 20:8-9 and who would be those that stand in front of the throne in Rev 20:12-15? Is it possible the 2nd resurrection could occur in 2 parts?

Here is a link to the “The 1000 Year Period”

Now we get to the group in Rev 20:12-15.  Matt 25:31-41 goes with this where Jesus separates the goats from the sheep.

Matthew 25:31-41King James Version (KJV)

31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: a classic Jack Chick tract.  Mainstream seems to follow this line.

The ones that would be in for a rude awakening at this point would be their impression that they were in the group of the chosen or the ones that thought they were really doing the work of the Lord. Flight 144 is a prime example.

What is the lake of fire?

For a continuation and some thoughts, follow this link:  (The Salvation Timeline Part 2)

The parting thought:

Matthew 5:8 New King James Version (NKJV)

Blessed are the pure in heart,
    For they shall see God

What is purity?