Timeline of the Saved

Nathan Jones
Lamb and Lion Ministries

For those who are rescued from the punishment of our sins, for those who were saved from God's wrath, for those who have accepted Jesus' gift of salvation, let's cover what life will be like for you after you die. Let's say today you go outside and a tornado sucks you up. You are now dead. The following is what happens to you if you believe in Jesus as your Savior.


1) Go Right to Jesus
Right after death your spirit will go right to Jesus. Immediately upon death you are ushered into the presence of Jesus by His angels in Heaven. You can find that in Luke 16:22.

2) Receive an Intermediate Body
When you get to Heaven, you will be given what is called an "intermediate body." It's a real body. You are not a ghost. You are not going around moaning "Ooooowwhhhh." God alone is spirit, as John 4:24 tells us, but the rest of us have bodies. You are in Heaven with a real body, and thank goodness, it is clothed. We will not spend eternity naked. I am glad for that!

Your intermediate body will also be recognizable. The people who are up there with you will be able to recognize you. We can see examples of that from the Bible, like Samuel when he came back and King Saul immediately recognized him. Lazarus and the Rich Man in Luke 16 recognized each other. Moses and Elijah when they came with Jesus to the Transfiguration, what did Peter say? "Hey, let me build a tent for you guys." We don't build tents for spirits. They were clearly in recognizable, physical bodies. And, look the Tribulation Martyrs. When the people who will die in the Tribulation are up in Heaven, what are they wearing? They are wearing white robes. They've got physical bodies. So, you too will receive an intermediate body when you die.

3) Resurrection and Rapture
You will next experience the Rapture of the Church. If you live in Heaven with Jesus up until the time of the Rapture — that time when Jesus comes for His Church to glorify their bodies and take them to Heaven to be with Him forever — you will be part of that, too. You will get to experience your own resurrection as your earthly body which is what sleeps in the ground is combined with your intermediate body, and you will receive what is called a resurrected or glorified body.

The order of it goes that first the dead in Christ are resurrected and raptured, and then those who are alive at the Rapture. But, it's like there's no discernible time between the two groups getting raptured, for it all happens in the time it takes to snap, in a twinkling of an eye. First Thessalonians 4:16-17 explains this, "For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever."

4) Tribulation Activities
While we in our glorified bodies are up in Heaven with Jesus, that's when the earth will enter into a stage called the "Tribulation." It's seven years of time when the world is punished for its continual rebellion against God. This punishment is only for those on the earth and is not for those who are up in Heaven.

Those in Heaven will experience three things while the Tribulation ravishes the earth:

The first activity is a judgment called the "Judgment of the Just," as 2 Corinthians 5:10 describes. But, it's not a judgment for salvation. You are in Heaven so you are already saved, right? Instead, it is a judgment of what you were doing while on earth. Remember that we were created in this life to do good works, that we were created in Christ Jesus to do on His behalf. So, you should be asking yourself just what are you doing with all your time and energy?

At the Judgment of the Just, we are going to be rewarded based on the quantity of our good works, meaning how much we used our time and talents. We will be judged on the quality of our good works, meaning how much effort we really put into trying to do a good job of reaching people for Christ and serving others in His name. And, we will be judged on our motivations. Did we do those works to glorify ourselves, or did we do them for somebody else? It will be the greatest reward ceremony in all of history, and we will get into what those rewards will be a little more later.

The second activity will be a party. It has this real eloquent name — the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Basically, it's a "Welcome to Heaven" type of party. God loves parties. He's not all gloom and doom like some people falsely tell you. God loves a good party. Jesus went to parties all the time while He was on earth. God is going to throw a big party, a celebration, for those of us who are in Heaven reunited with Him forever.

The third activity we'll be involved in while in Heaven during that Tribulation period is that we are going to prepare to return with Jesus to Earth, as Revelation 19 describes. Since Jesus will be fully decked out in warrior apparel, we too I assume will get some kind of armament. We are going to get a horse to ride back on, too. I don't really know how to ride a horse just now, but we will get some kind of thing to ride back on, and my hope is that instead it will be some kind of cool car. So, we will return with Jesus back down to earth.

5) Jesus' Second Coming
The next thing in our new life that we'll experience is Jesus Second Coming. There are about 500 prophecies in the Old Testament and one in 25 verses in the New Testament concerning Jesus' Second Coming, so there's a lot of description of this event.

We are told that we will accompany Jesus when He returns. Revelation 19:14 describes this return, "The armies of Heaven were following Him, riding on white horses, dressed in fine linens, white and clean." Well, there is my answer, I am not returning in a hot car. I'm going to have to ride a horse.

When we get to Earth, we are going to watch Jesus all by Himself defeat the worst scoundrel in all the world's history. He's ten times worse than Hitler ever was. This evil guy the Bible says will be called "the Antichrist." He's the eventual conqueror of the earth, but his rule will be short. Jesus upon His return will defeat the Antichrist and his army at a battle called Armageddon and with just a word Jesus will destroy all those armies that follow Satan.

We will witness Jesus ordering an angel to take Satan and have him chained up and dropped into a pit. Satan will no longer torment the world. Jesus will send the Devil into a deep pit for a long, long while.

For those who are saved, we're looking at what the events will be after death.

6) Millennial Kingdom
After Jesus ends the Tribulation in victory, He is going to usher in what is called the Millennial Kingdom. During this 1,000 year time period, Jesus is going to physically reign over all the earth. It is going to be a wonderful new era of peace and righteousness and justice. Because of all the destruction from the Tribulation, Jesus will need to cleanse the world of the radiation and poisoning and death, and so all the ecological problems will go away. The Earth will be a beautiful paradise once more, just like the Garden of Eden was.

Jesus in person Himself will rule from Jerusalem. He will rebuild Jerusalem and rule the world from there.

The faithful in glorified bodies — that's us — we will get to reign with Jesus over the people who are still living in earthly bodies. The people who accepted Jesus as their Savior during the Tribulation and survived, they are going to pass through what is called the Sheep- Goat Judgment. They are going to be allowed to live into the Millennium and have children and repopulate the planet. And, we will be there ruling with Jesus and helping those people as their governors and administrators and teachers and jobs like that.

7) Second Gog-Magog Battle
Unfortunately, at the end of the Millennial Kingdom, Jesus will release Satan for one final battle. God allows Satan to lead the people born during the Millennium who wish to rebel against God. They will be given a paradise to live in, but they would rather do their own thing contrary to God's moral laws, and so they will rebel against God. When they rebel against God, again Jesus with so much power just has to say a few mere words and Satan's last army is defeated. I figure the molecular bonds which holds all things together just fall apart at Christ's word, because Revelation 20 describes the battle as if those people just melt. Jesus will defeat Satan and the final remnant of rebellious people, and we will be there, too, to witness the whole climatic conclusion to human history.

8) Great White Throne Judgment
At the end of the Millennial Kingdom, there will be a final judgment for all those who throughout human history have rejected God. This is called the Resurrection of the Unjust. Everyone who has shook their fist against God and raised it up in rebellion will be resurrected. As Philippians 2:9-11 explains, here at this resurrection finally every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord.

And, that will be end to all who have rebelled against God. Not having come to God in faith in life, they will be sentenced to death in Hell. God will have complete and total victory over all His enemies. Period!

9) Eternity
After the mess Satan's final rebellion will cause to the planet, God will reform Earth into something much larger and totally free of sin and death. There will be a new eternity after that populated by a people group winnowed throughout all of human history who have loved God and want to live with Him forever. After all, God doesn't want to spend eternity just talking to Himself. Can you imagine the Trinity sitting around saying, "Hey, Dad." "Hey, Son." "Hey, Holy Spirit." No, God created everything because He wants to live in perfect relationships with people who want to be with Him forever, and we will be part of those people.


Heaven Described

What is Heaven like? If it is not a ghost town and it's not a place where we play a lot of harps, then just what is it like?


Restored Earth


Amazingly, what the Bible teaches concerning Heaven, and this is rarely taught in churches but it's true, is that Heaven will come down to a restored earth. The earth has gone through lots of changes over history. We know that during Adam and Eve's time the earth was perfect in that it was pre-Fall, but when Adam and Eve sinned a curse was put on it and the whole earth changed. After Noah's flood we have what the earth is like today, with its own atmosphere and environment a little different than it was during pre-Flood times. After the coming future Tribulation, Jesus will rebuild the earth and it will last during that millennial time, but that will get trashed, too, at the last battle. For the eternal earth, God will renovate it with fire as 2 Peter 3 describes back into a pre-Fall state. It's going to be a paradise. It will be perfect and there will be no curse on it ever again.

New Jerusalem

On this eternal earth, Heaven will finally come down to earth. It is a city that Jesus built called the New Jerusalem. As John 14:2 describes, "In my Father's house there are many rooms. If it were not so I would have told you." Jesus continues promising, "I am coming there to prepare a place for you." Now, think of it. God made the whole universe in six days. And, Jesus has been gone for nearly 2,000 years building this place, so can we just imagine how awesome a place this is going to be like? It must be beyond awesome.

Heaven is going to come down to earth, and do you know what? It will be our home. This place here today is our temporary home and we are strangers on this evil world, but what we were destined for, that's our eternal home.

I'll explain a little what this super city will look like. The New Jerusalem is described in Revelation 21.

The city is either shaped like a cube or a pyramid, we cannot be sure. We are told it is 1500 miles wide, long, and high. So, it could be a square, or it could be a pyramid. The mileage would require the city to stretch equivalently from Canada to Mexico and from the Atlantic Ocean all the way to Colorado. It's that big! It's so big in fact that if you figure there will be 20 billion people dwelling in it, each person would get 70 acres a piece cubed — it is that big!

Revelation 21 describes what the New Jerusalem is made out of. God did not spare any expense. The city is not made of gravel, instead it is made of gold, and not just any gold, it is pure gold. The quality is perfect as Revelation 21:18 and 21 tells us.

The city rests on foundations made of twelve layers of precious jewels like emeralds, sapphires, and amethysts. The Twelve Apostles are honored by having their names engraved, one on each foundational layer.

There are twelve gates to this city and they are all made out of a pearl. Some of these angels we read about in the Bible are big guys, so we are not talking about little pearls or little gates. These are humongous gates each made of a pearl. As everyone knows, a pearl is created inside of an oyster. So, if the pearls are that big, then just how big are these oysters? They must be tremendous!

God has His throne in Heaven. The few people in the Bible who have gotten to see it and report back say it looks like an emerald with a rainbow around it. God has four living creatures perched in front of it. They are four angel types that have never been seen anywhere else in the world. There are 24 elders taken from time and they in their own little thrones are circled around God's throne. Millions upon millions of angels fill the chamber worshipping God.

Out of the middle of God's throne is what is called the River of the Tree of Life, and that life is for the healing of the nations. The tree produces twelve crops of fruit. Remember the Tree of Life from the Garden of Eden, well here we see it again. It produces those crops of fruit once every month.

The very Creator Father God Himself lives with us in the New Jerusalem. God is radiantly bright. He is the light source of the city. One of my kids asked me, "If God is the light source for the city, what about the other side of the planet. How are they getting light?" I thought that was a really good question. The answer is the sun and the moon and stars will still be out there lighting the solar system, but it is God who provides the purest of light.

Glorified Bodies

What will you and me look like in the eternal state? Are we going to be ghosts? No, we will have our own glorified bodies, as 1 Corinthians 15:42-50 describes them, "The body that is sown is perishable," in other words can be destroyed, "it is raised imperishable," it can't be destroyed. "It is sown in dishonor," in that our sin weighs us down like we are slogged in filthy mud, "but it is raised in glory," in purity. "It is sown in weakness," in that we get sick and we get tired, "but it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body." We will be in a Holy Spirit powered body. "And we will bear the likeness of the man from heaven," the man from Heaven is Jesus Christ.

And so, our glorified bodies can't be destroyed. We will be immortal. We will live forever. We will be powerful. We will be Spirit controlled rather than sin controlled. We will be tangible, in that you can touch and feel them just as the disciples could touch and feel Jesus after He was resurrected.

You will be recognizable, but your body will be perfect. I am hoping for a few more inches and a smaller nose, but since we are recognizable I guess I am stuck looking like this forever, but hopefully younger. And, we will have no weaknesses. None!

Jesus if you remember did some pretty remarkable things after He was resurrected. He would occasionally appear out of nowhere. I would think it would be so great to just pop in and out without having to travel. Remember how He flew when He ascended to Heaven? Will we also get to fly? If the New Jerusalem is a huge cube or pyramid, you can bet we will need to be flying. Why take an escalator, right, when we can fly?

Think about our bodies now? Our earthly bodies are degraded, so our taste, our touch, our smells, our eyesight (I wear contacts) are all much weaker. But, in Heaven, these senses will be perfected. Think about the colors which we will be able to see. Maybe we will see outside of this light spectrum and into the ultraviolet. Or, what about tastes? You will get to savor certain foods because we will get to eat just as Jesus ate. We will get to savor perfected foods. Smells now, well I'm not big on smelling some things better, but I think it would be wonderful to be able to smell all sorts of different things beyond our limited range.

Rewards

When we get up to Heaven, Jesus has rewards for us for the good works we've done in His name while on earth.

One tremendous reward is God gives us glorified bodies made in Jesus' image. We won't be like God and we can't be like God, but we will be like Jesus' resurrected body physically.

Jesus promises crowns as a reward to us. These crowns are physical representations of how our life here on earth was spent. What you are doing here and now on earth in making good use of your time and talents will be turned into physical manifestations that we can display eternally. This isn't to selfishly brag on ourselves, but to give back to Jesus. The 24 Elders who sit around God's throne in worship place their crowns in front of God and say, "Holy, holy, holy." Our works are an eternal reminder of our sacrifice to the Lord and a forever act of worship.

The Bible says we're also going to be given robes. They most likely will be white, but I'm hoping for a little style so that the clothes we are given won't be so toga party like.

What is just awesome is that we will be given new names. When I was a kid I hated my name. It was a nerd name I thought, though it has become cool now, but at the time it wasn't. I used to tell people to call me Jason. Kids would come up to the house and knock on the door and ask, "Can I play with Jason." My family would look around and respond incredulously, "Who's Jason?" So, finally, I will get a new name.

God puts your new name on a white stone, and it may very well be a marble stone. Revelation 2:17 tells us this. Our new names will be representative most likely of who we really are, so you could be renamed Bravery, or Power, or Faithful. Jesus was always renaming the people he ran across during His earthly ministry. What would it be like to have a name that represents you for the rest of eternity?

A great reward is living in a place like Heaven, a place of comfort with no tears, as Matthew 5 and Revelation 21 describes. You will never have to worry about crying or hurting anymore. The Lord will always be there to comfort us, to give us mercy, and to finally give us true justice.

Authority, that is anther reward we will receive. We will have ruling authority during Jesus' Millennial Kingdom. We will be administrators and teachers and executives and majors and governors, but not legislatures because Jesus Himself alone makes the law. When we are talking about authority, we maybe think of towns or cities, but don't forget that God has made a whole endless universe. Our solar system has planets and there are more stars and so even more planets, and there are even more galaxies just filled with stars and planets. Who's to say that we are limited to ruling a few cities on the New Earth? Maybe we will be ruling an entire solar system or two or more as people go out into the vast universe God has created. The possibilities put real meaning behind the verse that no mind can comprehend what God has prepared for us.

What do you think about salvation as a reward? The Lord will give us salvation from the Tribulation. He gives us salvation from what is called the Second Death in Revelation 2:11. We are saved from death into eternal life to have everlasting life. Salvation is a pretty impressive gift!

How about honor as a reward? Can you believe that God would give someone like me honor? We get the honor to live in Heaven, the very home God dwells in. I don't particularly like people living in my home, but God is going to have billions of us living in His home. There Jesus brings us up to the Father and says, "Abba Father, look who I'm giving the honor of visiting you today."

Matthew 10:32 and Revelation 3:5 tells us that we are confessed by Christ to the Father. God isn't sitting way up on some throne somewhere so we have to look miles up at Him and never get to talk to Him or be near Him. The Father instead comes and honors us with His presence and words, as John 12:26 tells us. Can you imagine getting honored by God the Father? Now, it isn't honor for us particularly, but it is honor for what Jesus accomplished and what we accepted in Him.

This always gets me, that we are loved and adopted as children asRomans 8:23 promises. That the God of the Universe would adopt us as His own children — wow — that is love!

Life in Heaven

What will life be like on the New Earth? What are we going to be doing throughout all of eternity? Are we truly going to be playing harps and singing all day long? I'm the worse singer in the world and I do hope that even with my new glorified body I'm not singing throughout eternity.

For one, there will be fellowship with Creator God. That is the very reason why we were created. As John 4:23 tells us, we were made to fellowship with God forever. But, it's a choice that we make in life if we want to spend eternity with God or not. He never forces us to have to live with Him forever.

I hate to tell some of you this but, yes, there will be work in the afterlife. We will have lots of work to do. But, what if it is work that is fulfilling and satisfying as Matthew 5:6 tells us, then it isn't really work at all, is it? We'll be in our sweet spot doing what we love to do. It may be work, but if you love to do it, then it just doesn't feel like work, does it? God will have some great works planned for us to do.

Think about the talents you possess. God has given each of us special abilities and gifts which enable us to achieve goals while we work here on earth. Think about augmenting those talents and making them better and better with no limitations made by our human bodies.

We will have eons of ages to learn the vast sums of God's library. When I was a middle schooler I played the violin until my teacher asked me to stop. I was that bad! Well, I would like to learn the cello. It's my goal to learn to play the cello, and it's probably going to take me a few thousand years to actually learn it, but we have forever to get really good. I could have ten doctorate degrees and still have forever to work on more. We could be studying all the riches and the knowledge of Christ, but since He is infinite, it'd be like chasing our tails. We could spend forever studying and we would still not learn it all. But, think about how smart we will be by then, and we will have a brain that's not just using 10% of it's capability, but all 100% is working. Just think of what number our IQ's will be!

We will also mature. I won't have stupid immature thoughts, or say stupid things, or react immaturely. It's not that we will become all stuffy and boring, but we will mature into the truly developed humans that we were meant to be. No matter how old you are on earth, in God's eyes you are a child who needs to rid yourself of that immaturity. We will have all of eternity to mature.

And, yes, there will indeed be worship. People get this strange idea that worship is just singing "Oh, Holy, Holy, Holy" endlessly, but that's just not true. True worship is thanksgiving. It's thanking God. When you've got all of this eternal blessing of life and rewards and honor and more, how could we possibly not be thankful? You will want to proclaim with all your heart, "Oh, Lord, Holy, Holy, Holy is your name!"

Speaking about a choir, I once went on a men's retreat and there were nearly 500 men attending. When you have 500 men singing, "A Mighty Fortress is Your God," it's strength just blows you right out of your seat. What power! Now, think about five million people all singing to the Lord. What a choir!

Do you know what else is exciting about our coming eternal lives? There is a great big universe out there to explore. God created so much, and we are only just beginning from our little pinpoint in the universe to fathom where it starts. We will have an eternity to explore what God has created.

Again, we will be kept busy re
Publish Postigning with Jesus in the Millennial Kingdom and the nations that Revelation 21 talks about, this group of nations that will exist. We aren't given any more information than that about those nations, but we know we'll be given ruling authority over them. Can you believe that God would actually share His power? He's never been a selfish God, has He? No. So, it's an amazing, amazing future that we have in store for us
Verkondig die woord; hou aan tydig en ontydig; weerlê, bestraf, vermaan in alle lankmoedigheid en lering; want daar sal ‘n tyd wees wanneer hulle die gesonde leer nie sal verdra nie, maar, omdat hulle in hul gehoor gestreel wil wees, vir hulle ‘n menigte leraars sal versamel volgens hulle eie begeerlikhede, en die oor sal afkeer van die waarheid en hulle sal wend tot fabels. Maar wees jy in alles nugter; ly verdrukking; doen die werk van ‘n evangelis; vervul jou bediening.