In the future, at the end of the Great Tribulation period, Jesus is prophesied to come back to the earth. He does so, in part, in order to save man from total annihilation (see our article entitled "Jesus Returns!"). His arrival, along with all the saints brought back to life during the first resurrection, will usher in what is called the Millennium. It will be a time, lasting 1,000 years, when God's Kingdom will be fully established among humans.
Jesus' future rule of the earth as King of Kings, from his capital in Jerusalem, will bring the greatest time of peace and prosperity anyone has ever experienced. People will no longer waste their time debating whether God exists, or which parts of the Bible, if any, should be used as a standard for how man should live. Everyone in the future will not only know who their Creator is, the true meaning of Scripture will be taught to all (Isaiah 11:9)!
At the end of Jesus' future 1,000 years of rule, the Devil will be allowed out of his spiritual prison (Revelation 20:3). The great Deceiver will immediately set out do what he always does, which is to deceive man into sinning. All those he has deceived he will gather into a great army (just like he did to fight Jesus' Second Coming) and try, one last tired time, to overcome the forces of righteousness. God the Father, responding from heaven, will consume Satan's entire group of rebellious humans with fire as they prepare to attack Jerusalem (Revelation 20:7 - 9).
How will God ultimately handle his adversary? After the devil's final war against him, he will be grabbed and tossed into the lake of fire. The Bible then strongly suggests that he will not be allowed to continued living but will be given the death penalty, meaning that he will no longer exist (for more info see our article "Will the devil live FOREVER?").
The White Throne Judgment
What does God plan to do, in the not-to-distant future, with the BILLIONS of humans who never heard the name of Jesus, never fully comprehended the Gospel and never received his Holy Spirit? What will our loving Father do with the untold number of babies and children who either were aborted or died at a young age through no fault of their own? Are they lost forever?
The second resurrection, known as the Judgment Day or Great White Throne Judgment, is God's way of offering a FULL chance at salvation to the vast majority of man. This future event is set to occur after the Millennium. Those brought back to life will have their minds opened to understand the Bible (Revelation 20:12). They will then have the opportunity to repent of their sins, accept Jesus as their Savior, and receive God's spirit.
The Bible hints that man, in the second resurrection, will be allowed to live a flesh-based life on earth for up to 100 years (Isaiah 65:17 - 20). Aborted babies and young children will be made alive again and allowed to grow, learn and reach their full potential. Why, however, must all those brought back to life in the future have to live a second time in the flesh?
Those in the future second resurrection must build the same kind of righteous character, through the same process, as all those called and chosen before they were. They must live a life of learning the true doctrines of Scripture and building righteous character through overcoming sin and their human nature using the Holy Spirit within them. Once God is satisfied that they have the character worthy of salvation, their names will be added to the Lamb's Book of Life and they will receive the gift of eternal life as a spirit being (Revelation 20:12).
The Second Death
What does God do with the relatively few humans whom, in his eyes, understood the truth but knowingly and willfully rejected it? His solution is the second death made possible by the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14 - 15). This future event is God's way of mercifully and eternally deleting the existence (not tormenting them in some Hell) of all those who commit the unpardonable sin (see Hebrews 6:4 - 6).
Everything becomes new!
When God has fulfilled his greatest goal, which is making as many humans as possible into his own spiritual image of character (Genesis 1:26), he will then turn to the much quicker task of remaking everything else. He will not only make a new earth but also a new universe (Revelation 21:1 - 2, see also 3:12)!
In the glorious future of man, the Earth will become the true center of the Universe! A New Jerusalem will be created and placed on the planet where the thrones of the Father and Christ will reside (Revelation 21:22 - 23). The Tree of Life, which last appeared in the Garden of Eden, will also exist in the new city (Revelation 22:14).
What does eternity hold for man made in God's spiritual image? The Bible is silent regarding what will happen next after all the beings in existence are forever holy and righteous. It may just be that our loving Father is planning to be generous and gracious enough to allow us, who will be his spiritual children, to decide what the future brings.