Many in the church are confused as to the sequential events leading up to the return of Christ to this earth and the rapture of living saints. One thing all (or most) agree on is that it will happen. But scripture is very clear on this subject as it should be. You will find that if you combine the book of Revelation with Paul’s writings you will have your answer!
“At the last trumpet… the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.” (I Cor 15:52)
Then the seventh angel sounded [his trumpet]; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever… We give You thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who are and who were, because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign.” (Rev 11:15,17)
Yours in Christ,
Let The Seventh Angel Sound On High
Let the sev’nth angel sound on high,
Let shouts be heard through all the sky;
Kings of the earth, with glad accord,
Give up your kingdoms to the Lord.
Almighty God, Thy power assume,
Who wast, and art, and art to come:
Jesus, the Lamb who once was slain,
Forever live, forever reign!
The angry nations fret and roar,
That they can slay the saints no more
On wings of vengeance flies our God,
To pay the long arrears of blood.
Now must the rising dead appear;
Now the decisive sentence hear;
Now the dear martyrs of the Lord
Receive an infinite reward.
Words: Isaac Watts,1707.
Music: Henry Williams Baker, 1862
“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Rev 20:11-15)
There is not much teaching in the body of Christ about the second death, but I would like to take a few moments and bring it up. One thing that makes this such a neglected topic is that all of the occurrences of the second death are in the book of Revelation, perhaps the most neglected book in the Bible!
In a nutshell, as you see above, the lake of fire is the second death. Each one of us, indeed, all of humanity from Adam on, will die. Of this there can be no doubt or debate! What comes NEXT however is what I find more interesting.
Men and women, young and old, rich or poor, who lived out their years on this earth only to serve themselves (or the devil) will rise again at the great white throne of judgment, at the end of the Millennium. They will each stand before God the Father, who sits on His throne, and the “book of life” and the books of their lives will be opened. Once faced with the written record of their own selfishness and sin they will be sentenced to die again and live forever in the lake of fire.
Of this “day of judgment” and the opening of the books Jesus spoke accordingly:
“But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.” (Mtt 12:36)
This coming day of judgment, when the books are opened, is the great white throne of judgment. All of mankind, from Cain down throughout history, will wake from momentary “slumber” and stand before the great white throne. Those whose names are not written in the book of life will be thrown into the lake of fire. Hence the title “second death.”
This is known as “the second death.” Just as believers are sometimes called “born again” because they expect a new, spiritual life after death, the parallel teaching in the Book of Revelation is that other people will find themselves “dead again.” In both cases, the second version is much more intense and eternal than the first. (Stan Campbell)
The Book of Life
The “book of life” is also seen here as being brought before the throne of God. This book has been seen before in Exodus (32), Psalms (69), and Daniel (12).
The Lord told Moses: “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book. (Ex 32:33)
Distinguished Bible scholar William Barclay has given us insight on this subject for us:
“In ancient times cities kept a register of their citizens; and when a man died, his name was removed from the register.”
Daniel makes a reference to the book of life in regards to the Great Tribulation at the end of this age:
“Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. “ (Dan 12:1)
Finally, the book of Revelation makes it clear that those whose names are NOT written in the book of life will be found “in that day” to be worshiping the Antichrist:
“It was also given to him [the beast] to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.” (Rev 13:7-8)
There is one thing that you want to be absolutely certain of and that is that YOUR NAME is written in the book of life when your time comes to leave this earth or when Jesus splits the skies and comes down.
Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down,
That the mountains might quake at Your presence—
As fire kindles the brushwood, as fire causes water to boil—
To make Your name known to Your adversaries,
That the nations may tremble at Your presence! Isa 64: 1-2
Yours for the soon coming King,