From present to eternity
This guide illustrates God's plan for the believers, Earth and unbelievers. It describes the how the present will become eternity. Some parts of the illustration are described on this site while others are not...yet.
Those who have received salvation will go to the present Heaven while those who have not will go to the present Hell.
Both the Heaven and Hell that exist today will not last forever. There will be a transition from the present to the eternal. The book of Revelation describes this period in the most detail. There are differences in opinions about the details, but generally it goes as follows.
The transition starts on Earth with the tribulation. Here disasters and tragedies of historic proportions will occur. This includes the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse(Rev. 6:1-8) that will bring death, famine, wars and other disasters. Also in the tribulation is the rise of the Anti-Christ, also called the beast, and his army of followers against the believers(Rev. 13). This site will not discuss the tribulation or the Anti-Christ.
The tribulation ends with Jesus Christ returning to Earth in the second coming and defeating the Anti-Christ(Rev. 19:11-24). Jesus arrives on a white horse with the armies of Heaven following him. The Anti-Christ is thrown into the lake of fire(Rev. 19:20), the eternal Hell.
Next believers are resurrected in stages(Luke 14:14; 1 The. 4:16; Rev. 20:4-6). Though the exact timing is subject to debate, one stage will occur after the Christ's second coming. Believers will then face the judgment of works, also called the judgment seat. Here believers are judged by the works in their lives on Earth and are granted eternal rewards based on what they've done.
The millennium is a period that follows where Christ rules on Earth with at least some believers(Rev. 20:4-6). Satan is bounded in the abyss during this time(Rev. 20:1-3). This is not the same as Hell.
At the end of the millennium, Satan returns briefly and is then defeated and thrown into the lake of fire(Rev. 20:7-10). The unbelievers are resurrected and face their judgment of works at the white throne of judgment, where their actions will be judged(Rev. 20:11-15). This will be based on the wrath unbelievers store against themselves(Rom. 2:5). They are then thrown into the lake of fire(Rev. 20:15).
The last part is when Earth and the universe are remade(Rev. 21:1). Heaven and Earth are merged into the eternal Heaven. This is when the Heavenly city of New Jerusalem descends to New Earth(Rev. 21:2), and God lives with the people(Rev. 21:3).
Last updated 1/18/2011