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Transition to Jesus' Reign

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Transition to Jesus' Reign

The tribulation in general and specifically, the battle of Armageddon leaves governments in chaos and all critical infrastructure in dysfunctional ruins. Into this power vacuum, Jesus immediately starts installing His new government. As suggested by Daniel 12:11-12 and Daniel 8:14, this process requires approximately one year. During this hectic transition, Jesus squashes any remaining resistance to His government, judges people and nations, brings all Jews back to Israel, divides and partitions the land of Israel, and establishes new governments for every nation on earth. Historically, transitional periods have lasted many years (e.g., in Germany and Japan after World War II) but the situation is desperate so mercifully, Jesus acts quickly.

After this transition, Jesus and His saints govern the earth and bring about a time of unparalleled prosperity. During this time, Jesus establishes the capital of the world in Jerusalem where at first, He rules from a throne in the tabernacle of David (Isaiah 16:5) but He later moves it to Jerusalem’s final temple after its completion. For the next thousand years the world experiences nothing but peace and prosperity until God opens the bottomless pit and releases Satan to once again stir up dissent and one final rebellion, which serves to once again separate the righteous and wicked.

With the world in the chaotic aftermath of the greatest war ever, Jesus and His saints initiate the war recovery and new government creation. Who are the people left on earth after the seven-year tribulation? The simple answer is, it appears to be a mixed group of both righteous and wicked; but this question finally forces the confrontation of a dilemma conveniently passed over during the seven-year tribulation and great tribulation discussions. During the great tribulation, the antichrist actively sought out and eliminated the righteous. Starting in Revelation 13, anyone refusing to worship the beast was killed and those refusing to receive the mark of the beast were prohibited from buying or selling. At the same time, God killed the wicked in Revelation 14’s winepress of God’s wrath. If the antichrist is killing the righteous and God is killing the unrighteous, then who survives the full tribulation and the transition period to live under Jesus’ reign? If God allows the purging of both the righteous and wicked to continue to their natural conclusions, then no one survives the full tribulation. This is probably what Jesus meant when he said:

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 24:22)

Indeed, if these events continue unchecked, no flesh would survive. Jesus’ return stops the killings before all life ends. However, this still does not tell who survives.

Easily lost in the simple description of Revelation 13 are the obstacles in implementing the death sentences for failing to worship the image of the beast. To develop an appreciation of the enormous challenges involved in the massacre of the righteous, one only needs to look at Hitler’s attempted genocide of the Jews in the holocaust. To this end, he dedicated significant amounts of German resources. This was such a high priority that even at the height of the war, death camp logistics often delayed supplies destined for the eastern front. After many years of dedicated high-priority efforts, he had managed to slaughter six million Jews but still failed to accomplish his desired goal – genocide. Logistics were his greatest obstacle. The costs and time associated with identifying, collecting, killing, and clearing the land of the Jews proved to be far more challenging than ever anticipated. Bullets were too costly and the act of shooting the victims was too emotionally draining for the executioners. Over time, the Germans tried and employed many methods of execution. Body disposal proved equally challenging starting with individual graves, then mass graves, and finally mass crematoriums. The antichrist faces the same obstacles but with far less time, far more people, and over a far greater area (worldwide versus Europe). Whereas Hitler tried to kill millions, the antichrist will try to kill billions. Like Hitler, the antichrist fails in his efforts to destroy God’s people and many righteous, both Jew and gentile, survive the seven-year tribulation to enter Jesus’ millennial reign.

The question of whether any wicked survive the seven-year tribulation to enter Jesus’ millennial reign is trickier. Based on Jesus’ kingdom of heaven teachings, many believe the answer is no. The confirmation or refutation of this position requires a detailed investigation of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. Fortunately, this investigation in the next section also yields important insights into important events of the transition period.