10 The doctrine of future things

565 What is the significance of the images in Revelation 14: 1-5?


The mark (“seal”) with the name of the “Lamb” and of the Father indicates that the hundred and forty-four thousand are the property of God.

Being “without fault”, having “no deceit” in their mouths, and “following the Lamb”, indicate that they have led their lives in accordance with the gospel in word and deed.

The term “firstfruits” describes those whom Christ will take to Himself at His return: these will be the first to receive complete salvation.

The “Lamb” refers to Jesus Christ: “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1: 29). Revelation 5: 12 relates that the Lamb who was slain has gained the victory. This means that the abased and crucified Son of God also triumphs and conquers.


Salvation: see Questions 243→ et seq.

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and blessing!”  Revelation 5: 12

566  When will the “marriage of the Lamb” take place?


The “marriage of the Lamb”—in other words, the union of the bridal congregation with the bridegroom, Jesus Christ—will take place after He returns and after His bridal congregation has been transformed and caught up to God.

567 What will transpire at the “marriage of the Lamb”?


The bridal congregation will be permitted to share in Christ’s glory and will be in direct and indissoluble fellowship with God.


Bridal congregation: see Questions 562→ et seq.

“Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, ‘Write: “Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb”’.”  Revelation 19: 6-9

568 What happens on earth after the return of Christ?


After the return of Christ, a time will begin in which both man and the creation will suffer because they are exposed to the power of Satan. This period of time is called the “great tribulation”.


The great tribulation: see Questions 405→409→

569 Will there be any protection in the time of the “great tribulation”?


Yes. In the time of the “great tribulation”, there will be a place of spiritual protection for those who belong to the church of Jesus Christ and who have not been caught up to Jesus Christ. They will continue to experience divine help and spiritual care so that their faith may be preserved.

In the book of Revelation, they are represented by the image of the woman clothed with the sun, who has given birth to a male child. They continue to receive divine support and spiritual care such that their faith may be preserved (cf. Revelation 12: 6).

In the time of the “great tribulation” there will be people who are killed for professing Christ. These steadfast witnesses will thus become martyrs.

570 What happens to the martyrs from the time of the “great tribulation”?


Those Christians who are killed for their witness of Christ in the time of the “great tribulation” will share in the first resurrection, like the bridal congregation before them.


First resurrection: see Questions 574→ et seq.

571 What occurs after the “marriage of the Lamb” and the “great tribulation”?


After the “marriage of the Lamb” Jesus Christ will return to the earth with the bridal congregation and put an end to the time of the “great tribulation”.

572 What will happen to Satan after the time of the “great tribulation”?


According to Revelation 20: 1-3, Satan and his followers—the powers opposed to God—will be “chained” and cast into the “bottomless pit”. All power is thus taken from them, and no one will be tempted by Satan for a long time.

573 What happens when Satan is bound and relieved of his power?


When Satan is bound and when the powers opposed to God are deprived of all their power, the resurrection of the martyrs from the “great tribulation” will take place. Thus the martyrs will also share in the first resurrection.

574 What events comprise the first resurrection?


During the first resurrection, the “dead in Christ” will resurrect and, together with the living who belong to the bridal congregation, will be caught up to God. After the “marriage in heaven”, the martyrs from the “great tribulation” will resurrect and be numbered among the royal priesthood.

These two events are described as the “first resurrection”: “Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (Revelation 20: 6).


Rapture / transformation: see Question 559→ et seq. “Great tribulation”: see Questions 569→ et seq.

575 What follows the conclusion of the first resurrection?


After the conclusion of the first resurrection, Jesus Christ will establish His kingdom of peace and exercise His royal reign for “a thousand years”. These thousand years symbolise a long, but limited, period of time.

576 Will human beings still sin during this time?


Yes. Even though Satan has been deprived of his power and can no longer tempt anyone to sin, human beings will remain sinners and continue to be mortal, since the inclination to sin has not been lifted. The exceptions to this are those who took part in the first resurrection.


Inclination to sin: see Question 227→ and explanation First resurrection: see Question 574→

577 What transpires during the period of the kingdom of peace on earth?


During the time of Christ’s kingdom of peace, Jesus Christ and the royal priesthood will preach the gospel unhindered. The gospel will be brought to all human beings living on earth as well as all souls in the realms of the departed. By the end of the kingdom of peace, all human beings of all time periods will have become acquainted with the gospel of Jesus Christ.


The royal priesthood: see Questions 259→409→, and 574→

578 What happens at the end of the kingdom of peace?


At the end of the kingdom of peace, Satan is released. He will thus have one last opportunity to tempt human beings. After Christ’s victory over him, he will be “cast into the lake of fire and brimstone” (cf. Revelation 20: 7-10). From then on, evil will be rendered powerless forever.

579 What will happen once evil has been deprived of its power forever?


After evil is deprived of its power forever, the resurrection of the dead for judgement will take place. Then Jesus Christ will judge all human beings who have ever lived. The only ones exempted from this Last Judgement are those who took part in the first resurrection.

The “Last Judgement” is the final judgement over all human beings who did not take part in the first resurrection. This judgement is described in
Revelation 20: 11-15.

“And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.”  Revelation 20: 12

580 What happens to those who find grace in the Last Judgement?


Those who find grace in the Last Judgement will—together with those who partook in the first resurrection—become citizens of God’s new creation. They will then all have eternal fellowship with God. The others will remain in the misery of remoteness from God.

581 What does the Bible have to say about God’s new creation?


After the Last Judgement, God will replace the old creation with a new creation: “He [God] will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God” (Revelation 21: 3). Thereby the expectation expressed in 2 Peter 3: 13 will be fulfilled: “Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” This kingdom of God will be eternal, and then God will be all in all (1 Corinthians 15: 28).