The Last Day
The Last Day
James P. Rooney
Copyright © 2014
All Rights Reserved
All Bible verses are in the New King James Version (NKJV) unless otherwise noted.
Introduction - 5
1 Where Do We Go When We Die? - 6
2 Three Popular Views Regarding the Return of Jesus Christ and the Resurrection of the Saved - 10
3 When Did Jesus Christ Say He Would Return To Resurrect All Believers? – 21
4 The Millennium – 27
5 The Judgment – 36
6 The Lake of Fire - 45
7 The Destruction of the Heavens and Earth - 47
8 A New Heaven, New Earth, and New Jerusalem – 49
9 Epilogue - 51
And Jesus said to them….
39 “This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:39-40)
Every one of us has often thought about our death and whether there is an after-life. As Christians, we believe that when we die we will experience Paradise in heaven with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I have talked with many people about this subject and a variety of questions are often asked about death, the return of Christ, the resurrection, the judgment, heaven, hell, and the lake of fire. Therefore I wanted to write a book that will answer many of those questions.
This book is written from a Christian perspective, and I will use the Bible to address these issues. Whether you are a Christian or not, I invite you to read this book and learn what the Word of God has to say about death, the after-life, and what will happen on The Last Day.
Where Do We Go When We Die?
The answer to that question depends on whether we are believers in Jesus Christ at death or not. Are we saved or unsaved? What are believers saved from? We are going to examine two different situations to see where we go at death.
Who are the saved? These are people who have faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:31)
God, in His great love, sacrificed His Son Jesus on the cross so that believers would not perish in hell but have everlasting life.
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
Jesus Christ died on the cross as an atonement or payment for our sins. In God’s holy and wonderful plan, Jesus became our substitute on the cross. He paid the penalty for our sins, and we receive His righteousness at the moment we believe in Him. What a glorious love that both the Father and the Son have for His children! We are saved by His grace and mercy.
At death our bodies are buried. The body is an empty shell.
8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. (2 Cor. 5:8)
When a Christian dies his or her spirit is transported immediately into the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ in Paradise. We see an example of this in the account of Christ’s crucifixion and the thief who turned in faith to the Lord.
Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” 40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” 43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:39-43)
What is Paradise? It is heaven, a place of extreme happiness and pleasure with the Lord Jesus. What will we be doing in heaven? We will be praising and worshiping God and giving Him glory and honor. We will be having wonderful fellowship with all those in heaven and what a joy it will be to reunite with our family and loved ones who died in Christ. We will experience joy and contentment that we can’t even imagine now.
9 But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Cor. 2:9)
We will be doing this while we await the resurrection of our bodies and the final judgment. This will be discussed in more detail later in this book.
What are Christians saved from? They are saved from God’s wrath and a place of torment which will be addressed next.
Those who die without faith in Jesus Christ also have a spirit. Their bodies are buried. However their spirits go immediately to a temporary place of torment and suffering called hell. Here they await the resurrection of their bodies and the judgment. Hell is a real place of suffering in fire.
Jesus gives us an account of two men who died. One was a beggar named Lazarus, who went to heaven and the other, a rich man, who went to hell.
22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. 26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’” (Luke 16:22-26)
Hell (Hades) is a place of suffering. Those who reject the Son of God will receive the wrath of God.
He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. (John 3:36)
Hell is also a place where many of the fallen angels (demons) are in chains suffering in flames of fire waiting for the judgment. These demons are being punished as they rebelled against God along with their leader Satan and therefore will be ultimately cast into the lake of fire.
4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; (2 Pet. 2:4)
6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; 7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. (Jude 6-7)
Hell is a place reserved for demons and those people who have rejected Jesus Christ. If you do not believe in Jesus Christ it is not too late for you to be saved from the fires of hell by faith in Christ.
31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:31)
What about Purgatory?
The Bible only mentions two places where departed souls go at death, heaven or hell.
There is no mention in the Bible of a place called purgatory or other realm where the spirits of dead men or women go for temporary punishment or cleansing before going on to heaven.
Three Popular Views Regarding the Return of Jesus Christ and the Resurrection of the Saved
The Date of Jesus’ Return is a Secret
When will Jesus Christ return? Many theologians have tried to figure out or calculate using the Bible when that day will be. In every case those who have set dates have been wrong. God has kept the date of His Son’s return a secret. This motivates us to continually live to please the Lord and be prepared because He can come at any time. Otherwise we would put off living for Him until the last minute.
32 But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. (Mark 13:32)
But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. 2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. (1 Thess. 5:1-2)
The return of Jesus Christ and the resurrection of all believers who have died are linked together. They happen almost simultaneously.
Key Verses Regarding the Rapture of Believers
The following verses are important to help us understand how believers in Christ, both dead and alive, are translated up to Christ in the clouds when He returns. This event is referred to as the rapture.
16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thess. 4:16-18)
51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (1 Cor. 15:51-52)
7 Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. (Rev. 1:7)
The Pre-Tribulation Rapture View
This view is perhaps the most popular view among Christians today. What this view maintains is that there is coming a time of great tribulation on Earth. An evil world dictator, the Satan energized Antichrist, will seek to rule the world during a seven year period of distress. Right before this time of tribulation, Jesus Christ will return in the clouds and the bodies of the dead believers in Christ will come out of their graves and be joined with their spirits which have been in heaven. Those believers who are living when the Lord returns in the clouds will then immediately undergo a bodily transformation and be translated up in the clouds to also be with the Lord Jesus Christ. All the saved, both dead and alive, will hear the shout of the angel and the trumpet call to come forth and will see Christ in the clouds. All the unsaved who are left on Earth will not hear the shout or trumpet nor be aware of Christ coming in the clouds and the resurrection of the saved. All that people on Earth will know is that millions of people are missing without explanation. This is referred to as the secret rapture. Then the time is ripe for the Antichrist to come to power.
Although there is no direct biblical text for this view, the pre-tribulation view makes some biblical conclusions based primarily on several sections of Scripture as follows:
John Taken Up to Heaven
In Revelation chapters 2 and 3, Jesus Christ sends a message to seven churches in Asia (present day Turkey). In His message He evaluates these churches regarding their service to Him. Chapter 4 describes an unusual experience that happens to the Apostle John who is the one who records what takes place in the book of Revelation.
After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard