↻ Updated: February 13th, 2020 by JPE
The Earthly People
We, Adam’s children, are the summit of God’s creation. We were created to trust in Jesus Christ for our salvation from hell for our Maker’s big plan for us in the universe beyond the span of time. Those rejecters and deniers of our Lord Jesus couldn’t be a part of this sacred grand design. His program, according to the Scriptures, is to let Christ’s born-again followers and all those saved people since the days of old ( all those partakers of the First Resurrection!) run the affairs of God’s earthly people after the Millennium. We will be kings and priests (the kingdom administrators) of Jesus Christ’s eternal reign—He is the Lord of lords and the King of kings! (cf. Rev. 17:14; 1 Tim. 6:15)
It is not the accurate theological interpretation that the earth will be melted (cf. 2 Pet. 3:10) to nothingness since the earth will just be redeemed (renovated!) as part of Christ redemptive work. Hence, the formation of the new heaven and earth—without sun and sea. After the Millennium, most Bible theologians believed, “then comes the end. . .the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.” (1 Cor. 15:24,28) But it is not the end or cessation of the things of the world. Take note that Christ’s kingdom on earth will be eternal. (cf. Is. 9:6-7) There will be earthly people after the Millennium. The saved ones (the First Resurrection Saints) will already be in heaven—in the New Jerusalem, to be exact. Now, who will people the new earth then? It is our thesis that there will be earthly people after the Millennium and that Christ would rule them through the believers, the First Resurrection Saints.
And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband….I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has < no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations [earthly people] will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its [New Jerusalem’s] gates will never be closed; and they [kings of the earth] will bring the glory and the honor of the nations [earthly people] into it; and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life [the First Resurrection Saints (with new spiritual bodies given during the Rapture and Resurrection—they will be like Christ!) will be occupying the New Jerusalem. The City would be hanging above the earth — the source of light of the earthly people like the sun]. —Revelation 21:2,22-27
The Earthly People to Live on the Redeemed Earth
With Adam’s fall, three elements of the human existence were lost and, therefore, needing the redemption that was possible only through the death and resurrection of Christ. Observe closely the following Scriptures:
Man’s soul requires redemption Man’s body’s requires redemption Man’s habitation, the earth, requires redemption
“…but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” (Gen. 2:17)
“For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.” (Gen. 3:19)
“Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life. ‘Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field; By the sweat of your face You will eat bread.'” (Gen. 3:17-19)
Christ’s shifted role from Savior and Mediator to King and Ruler of the earthly people during His eternal reign.
Hold in mind, for some more expository points, that after Chapter 3 in Revelation, there is no mentioned of the word “Church” anymore until the last chapter—it is replaced with “bond-servants” and “saints.” Why? One reason is that the composition of the First Resurrection Saints (who will inhabit the New Jerusalem) includes the saints (or saved ones) before the birth and after the rapture of the Church. The “end,” therefore, mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:24,28 is referred to Christ’s redemptive and mediatorial work. Christ’s cannot be subjected to the Father (cf. 1 Cor. 15:28) like a son being dominated by his father. Our Lord Jesus is one and equal with the Father in everything. (Heb. 1:8) After the Millennium, Christ intercessory work (applied as when His children sin in today’s Christ-believers relationship—1 Tim. 2:5, etc.) will already have to cease.The saved (by faith) individuals and those who would be saved by Him during the Great Tribulation Period would become partakers of the First Resurrection. They would already be sinless. The “old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” There would be a new earth and a new heaven. The distinction of Christ as Savior would become less meaningful; His primary role then would be His kingship as “King of kings and the Lord of lords” during His eternal reign on the earth. He would then assume the role of Judge and King — that “God may be all in all.”
Another great truth is that Christ’s Kingdom on earth is eternal. We find the following relevant passage from one excellent Bible commentary named Barnes’ Notes on the Bible that we need “to reconcile the passage with what is said of the perpetuity of Christ’s kingdom and his eternal reign. That he would reign; that his kingdom would be perpetual, and that it would be unending, was indeed clearly predicted; see 2 Samuel 7:16; Psalm 45:6; Isaiah 9:6-7; Daniel 2:44; Daniel 7:14; Luke 1:22-23; Hebrews 1:8.”
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.
It is the endless message of thousands of Christian leaders, namely, that the earth will be melted (2 Pet. 3:10) — that we will be resurrected and behold and worship God forever in heaven—period. But such a teaching would leave hundreds of prophecies unfulfilled.
That is why we, real followers of Christ, are called God’s kings and priests in Revelation 1:5-6; 5:10 (KJV) and in other portions of the Scriptures. You may google “royal priesthood” for some other verses of the same biblical teaching. It is still future, but substantially scriptural and thus easy to grasp.
And from Jesus Christ….Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father…forever and ever.(Rev 1:5-6 KJV)
But what is strange to most so-called Christians (even to many Christian leaders!) is the truth that our kingship and priesthood will transcend beyond the 1000-year’ reign of Christ.
During the Millennium or the 1000-year’ reign of Christ on the earth, the First Resurrection Saints will become the rulers and priests of the earthly people who will all be the subjects of the King of kings and the Lord of lords, Jesus Christ. Observe Revelation 20:4-6:
As the reign of Christ on His earthly kingdom is eternal (cf. Is. 9:6-7), therefore, the First Resurrection Saints’ workload as “kings and priests” (the administrators, so to say, of the earthly people) would also last forever.
Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts? Do you not know that we will judge angels?—1 Corinthians 6:2-3
The Earthly People After the Millennium
Chapter 21 of the Book of Revelation tells us about the new heaven and the new earth — both places, therefore, having different occupants, namely, the new-earth people and the new-heaven residents.
READ MORE: Earth Forever Peopled According to God
In verse 24 (of Revelation 21) the earthly people are also described as the nations. “The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.” The word “it” here is referred to “the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.” (cf. v. 2).
The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. —Revelation 21:24
The earthly people will be those who will come out of the millennium. They will be deathless being provided from the Throne both the tree and water of life. God “will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” (Rev 21:2-4). The promised good life in Revelation 21 is further explained in the following Chapter. The water and tree of life were given some details, but what catches our attention here, is the mention also of the heavenly people termed as bondservants.
From verses 1 to 5 of Chapter 22, two kinds of people are mentioned, viz., the nations (v.2), and “His bond-servants” in verse 3. While the earthly people (or the nations) were promised a death- and sorrow-free life, the bond-servants, on the other hand, were described as serving God and seeing His face and have God’s name on their foreheads (v.3). God will illumine them, consistent thus with Christ’s teaching that, “…in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.” (Matt 22:30).
It is clear in Chapter 21 and verse 24 that the earthly people will not live in the Holy City, the New Jerusalem. The nations just “walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.” Their kings will then be ruled by the heavenly people, the priests and kings of God with Christ Jesus, the Lord of lords and the King of kings. “There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore.” (Isa 9:7)
Wrote Arthur E. Bloomfield1:
“These three elements in the kingdom—the saints, the Jews, and the nations—must not be confused. There is only one kingdom. Eventually, it will reach to the ends of the earth and possibly beyond, for ‘of the increase of his kingdom and peace there shall be no end.’
“But there will be two distinctly different kinds of people: (1) Those who have lived during the redemptive period, who have been born again, who have died and been raised or caught up at the Rapture. These have immortal bodies capable of inhabiting the universe. They are not earthbound. They may make their home in the Holy City and come and go ‘like doves to their windows’ (Isa. 60:8).
“(2) Then there will be Gentile nations, made up of those who are saved during the Millennium or who are born during the Millennium and after. They are of the earth. They will not go into the Holy City to live. They will inhabit the earth or the earthly kingdom forever. Everlasting life in that day will not mean that they will die and be raised; it will mean that they will never die. They will remain an earthly people. Their number will increase forever. God is not limited in His power to provide room.
“The saints are a fixed number. They will not increase. They are a distinct people who live in the City of God and see His face. They are the rulers, with Christ, of all creation, heirs of all things, joint-heirs with Christ.
“Redeemed Jews (those who are saved and have become immortal) are included with the saints. There is no difference because of nationality in the Holy City. Both Old and New Testament saints are there (Rev. 21:12,14).”
The earthly nation of Israel will be saved as an earthly nation and David will reign. It is the nucleus of the kingdom on earth; Christ and the saints will reign for 1000 years; after that the kingdom will assume its permanent form, with the Jews inhabiting their Promised Land and other nations living in peace with them. The new heaven and the new earth mentioned in Revelation 20 are the result of the reign of Christ for 1000 years. ‘Old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new.’—Arthur E. Bloomfield
Henry C. Thiessen seems to concur with Bloomfield, while Dr. Walvoord2, in his book titled “The Prophecy Knowledge Handbook,” follows the usual teaching that the “description of the earth’s being destroyed by fire is catastrophic and supports the conclusion that the new earth, created according to verse 1, will replace entirely our present earth.”
Our doctrine is that the earth will be purged, but not destroyed literally to give way to the “new” earth, for the earth is going to be inhabited forever (Isa 45:18). Thiessen said the “[s]everal passages of Scripture bring them to our attention (Isa. 65:17; 66:22; 2 Pet. 3:10-13; Rev. 21:1f). They are called ‘new,’ but this does not mean new in the absolute sense, for the earth abideth forever (Ps. 104:5; 119:90; Eccl. 1:4).”
Here’s Thiessen’s understanding about the earthly and the heavenly people discussed above:
The final state of man, our eternal residence in the Holy City, brings a new angle of appreciation over the depth of Christ’s words about our immortality: “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:36-38). Our redemption by faith in Christ’s atoning blood is priceless, for we will live forever in the new heaven, specifically in our permanent mansion, as promised by Christ at the Holy City. Then, for our workload, we will roam anywhere in the new earth and heaven and the whole universe as priests and kings of God, as we will become like Jesus our Lord. (1 John 3:2)
If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going. (John 14:3-4)
1 Arthur E. Bloomfield, Before the Last Battle—Armageddon (Minnesota: Bethany House Publishers, 1971), 42.
2 John F. Walvoord, The Prophecy Knowledge Handbook ( Wheaton: Victor Books, 1990), p.512.
3 Henry C. Thiessen, Revised by Vernon D. Doerksen, Lectures in Systematic Theology (Manila: The Christian Library Inc. (TCLI), 1991), 400-401.